Benjamin Franklin Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Washington, George" AND Period="Confederation Period"
sorted by: editorial placement

To Benjamin Franklin from George Washington, 6 May 1784

From George Washington

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library; copy:3 Library of Congress

Philadelphia May 6th. 1784.

Dear Sir,

Mr. Tracy the bearer of this, is a Gentleman of Fortune from Massachusettsbay—on a visit to Europe.4

His political character, and character for benevolence & hospitality are too well established in this Country to need any other recommendation, notwithstanding I have taken the liberty of giving him this letter of introduction to you.—

With very great esteem and regard—I am—Dr Sir Yr. Most Obedt. Servt

Go: Washington

The Honble. Doctr. Franklin

Addressed: The Honble / Doctr. Franklin / Paris / Favored by Mr. Tracy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Dated May 5.

4Nathaniel Tracy, a prominent Newburyport merchant and shipowner who had helped provision the American army (XXIX, 332), had by 1779 lost most of his fleet and was now on the verge of financial collapse: ANB. He was sailing to Europe to settle his accounts. JW, one of his major creditors, was depending on remittances from Tracy to satisfy his own creditors in France before the expiration of his lettres de surséance on Sept. 13.

Tracy sailed from Boston on July 5 aboard his new brig Ceres. He remained in England through the end of August, arriving in Paris at the beginning of September. It is not known when he delivered this letter, but on Sept. 5 he and JW were among the guests at a dinner party hosted by the Adamses (Adams Correspondence, V, 444). After another trip to London he was back in Paris c. Oct. 5, still unable to remit to JW any of what he owed: W. W. Abbot et al., eds., The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series (6 vols., Charlottesville and London, 1992–97), I, 374n; Jefferson Papers, VII, 363–4n 395; and for background on Tracy’s financial problems, see Benjamin W. Labaree, Patriots and Partisans: the Merchants of Newburyport, 1764–1815 (Cambridge, Mass., 1962), pp. 60–2.

Index Entries