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To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 2 April 1781

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

L’Orient April 2. 1781.

Dear & hond sir.

I informed you in my last that the Marquis de la Fayette would sail the next day, accordingly on thursday the 29 of March I saw her & the Alliance under Sail8 and the Wind has since continued exceeding fair, so that I imagine they are now 150 Leagues of. I have the pleasure to assure you that the great ship sails remarkably well & I realy believe the alliance cannot go a head of her.— I have written a dozen times to Bordeaux to have the Certificate of the Jaugeage, in order to settle the Freight, as the money is already paid. I shall take care not to give any Bill on you that is negociable; but the Certificate is necessary for my Justification and I have written for it by this Post to M de Chaumont.

Your dispatches for the Active were forwarded on to me from Nantes, I shall therefore put them on board the Aurora which will sail this Week & which is an Opportunity 6 times as safe as the Active, the Brig is now at Nantes and I suppose will be there long enough for your other Dispatches some time hence.9

I am ever most dutifully & affectionately Yours

Jona Williams J

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / Ministre Plenipotentiaire des / Etats Unis de l’Amerique / en son Hotel / à Passy / prés Paris

Notation: J. Williams, L’orient April 2. 1781.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8See our annotation of JW’s last letter, March 28.

9On March 31, WTF had written JW inquiring about two packets containing dispatches for America, which had been sent with a M. Bougogne. Would JW let them know as soon as they arrive? He also enclosed a copy of a letter BF had recently received from Necker, relative to JW’s memoir (for which see BF to Necker, April 10). In addition, he asked whether JW ever sent to Jane Mecom the items that BF had ordered him to ship (see BF’s letter of Dec. 4, and JW’s of Dec. 12). If so, what vessel were they on? Library of Congress.

JW, who had completely forgotten what BF wanted him to send to Jane Mecom, asked WTF on April 10 to remind him quietly of the order (APS). WTF answered on April 16, assuring confidentiality but advising that JW had better “lose no time in shipping them,” as he thought BF had already written his sister that the goods were on their way: Library of Congress.

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