Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from John Jay, 22 September 1780

From John Jay

Copies: Library of Congress, National Archives, Henry E. Huntington Library, Columbia University Library

St. Il de fonse 22 Sept 1780

Dear Sir,

I have lately written to you several Letters. Enclosed is a Copy of one to Count de Vergennes,7 which Ct. de Montmorin, who also writes to him on the same Subject,8 is so obliging as to send together with this, by a Courier to bayonne. The Papers you have heretofore recd. from me, with those now sent will enable you to understand it; and I am persuaded your Abilities and Enfluence will be exerted to promote the Success of the application contained in it. It appears to me absolutely necessary that the Bills drawn on me be saved at all events. If contrary to my Ideas of the Wisdom & affection of France, She should not lend us Money for the Purpose we must endeavour to borrow it of Individuals, tho’ at a higher than usual Interest, nay on any Terms rather than not get it. Almost anything will be better than a protest, for exclusive of Disgrace, which is intolerable, the Consequences of it would cost Congress more than the Expence of saving their Credit, be it almost what it will.

With very sincere Regard & Esteem your most hble Servt.

(signed) John Jay

His Excellency Dr. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7With the present document at the Library of Congress is a copy of the enclosure, Jay’s Sept. 22 letter to Vergennes: Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, IV, 63–6. This lengthy document describes Jay’s financial difficulties (including $50,000 in as-yet-unaccepted bills of exchange) and his unsuccessful negotiations. Jay asks Vergennes “to enterpose the amity of France” to rescue American credit.

8Vergennes replied to Montmorin that he doubted he could help Jay, as BF had asked for an extra 1,000,000 l.t. to meet congressional drafts through the end of the year; he would do the best he could. Jay sent a copy of Vergennes’ response to President of Congress Huntington on Nov. 6: Morris, Jay: Revolutionary, p. 834.

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