Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from John Adams, 19 April 1780

From John Adams

ALS: American Philosophical Society; copy: Massachusetts Historical Society

Paris April 19. 1780

Dear sir

I have been informed, that the State of Maryland, have named Mr Charmichael, Mr Johnson, Mr Williams, Mr Lloyd, and Mr Jennings, as proper Persons, out of whom they have desired, your Excellency to choose one, in order to draw out of the English Funds a Sum of Money, they have there, for which the Agent is to have two and an’ half per Cent.1

Mr Charmichael, is otherwise employed, Mr Johnson, Mr Williams, and Mr Lloyd are all proper Persons, but perhaps they may be otherwise employed too, except Mr Lloyd, whose fortune, both by himself and his Wife is so ample that it may be no Object.

Mr Jennings, who is not less qualified than any of them, is a Gentleman of Learning, and Abilities, who has left his Affairs from a Love to his Country to whose service, he devotes his Time. He is now at Brussells. As he is a native of Mary land, perhaps his Pretentions may upon the whole, be superiour to those of others, or this Sentiment may be the Dictate of the Esteem and friendship I conceived for him on Account of his Candor, when I was here before.2

I intreat your Excellency, not to consider this, as a desire to dictate in a matter in which I have not right nor Colour, to interfere, and therefore ought to ask your Pardon, for presuming to advise.

If your Excellencys decision should fall upon, any of the other Gentlemen I shall be perfectly content and think no more of it. I have the Honour to be with, the greatest Respect, Sir your most obedient and most humble Sert

John Adams

His Excellency Dr Franklin

Notation: J. Adams. April 19. 1780

1The governor of Maryland had empowered BF to appoint a replacement if the state’s trustees in England failed to act on its instructions: XXXI, 336–8. JA learned about it from Edmund Jenings: Adams Papers, IX, 130.

2JA’s admiration for Jenings was so strong that he had recommended him to Elbridge Gerry as a secretary for the American mission in France: Adams Papers, VIII, 143. Jenings, who may have been a British agent, had his property confiscated by Maryland on the grounds he was a British subject (although the state later reversed this decision): James H. Hutson, ed., Letters from a Distinguished American: Twelve Essays by John Adams on American Foreign Policy, 1780 (Washington, 1978), pp. xii–xiii.

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