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To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 23 August 1782

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania; copy: Yale University Library

Nantes Augt. 23. 1782.

Dear & hond sir.

I beg leave to solicit your kindness in forwarding the inclosed to the Marquis de Castries and to add a Line in addition to my Request.6 You will see it is no Favour out of the common Line I therefore ask without hesitation.

If I had 100 Tons of the public Stores here I could put them on board the Cato & land them in Boston or some neighbouring Port according to Circumstances. It is strange that we need depend on french Transports when there are now at least 10 American ships well armed & none will go away full.7

I did not inform you of the Birth of my Daughter because I never reckoned her as an Aquisition and she is now as if she had never been.8 Mrs Williams is yet very poorly, but I hope not dangerous. I am as ever Yours most dutifully & affectionately

Jona Williams J

His Excellency Doctor Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6JW’s letter, dated Aug. 23, informed Castries that he had established the mercantile firm of Williams, Moore & Co. at Lorient. He requested that the firm be allowed to store their goods in French warehouses at Lorient, just as the Dutch East India Company did, on the basis of America’s having status as a most favored nation. He also requested that Castries write to the port commandant at Lorient granting permission for the firm to use a French dry dock in order to copper the bottom of one of their ships. Yale University Library. BF forwarded the letter to Castries on Aug. 31, below.

7The previous February BF had asked JW to arrange for shipping these stores warehoused at Brest, supplies for the American army that were replacements for those captured aboard the Marquis de Lafayette and Rusé. JW had been unable to persuade any American captain at Nantes to risk sailing to Brest for the consignment. BF turned to the French for help, which they gave reluctantly. Some of the supplies were sent aboard three French ships, which subsequently were forced into Rochefort. American merchants now volunteered to take the stores. In June JW suggested using the Cato: XXXVI, 546, 556, 685–6; XXXVII, 71–2n; JW to Robeson, June 6 and 26, 1782 (Yale University Library). For the problems encountered by the French, see Palteau de Veimerange to BF, Sept. 6; BF to Castries, Sept. 7, below.

8Bethia had died a week earlier: JW to BF, Aug. 16, above.

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