Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 1 January 1780

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

Nantes Jan. 1 1780

Dear & honoured Sir

I shall send you on monday next by Mr. Montory Patterns of a Shirt a Hat & a pair of Hose.1 The Shirt you will find to be made of a strong fine Dowlas or morlaix Linnen exactly as discribed by Congress, and the Workmanship is well executed, I will venture to say better than any Soldiers Shirt in the french Army; you will observe that the puckers at the Risbands are let in & not sewed on as is usualy the Way. These Shirts I can furnish at five Livres each all charges of Transportation included. I can if you please do it at 3 Livres a Shirt, but they will not answer the Discription of Congress & as the Directions are very particularly given, I think they should be very exactly attended to.2 The Hat I find will cost about two Livres seven Sols each £2..7s. I could furnish them at 2 3s each but again I observe I think them too common.

The Stockings I do not pretend to show as good enough for the Purpose but finding a parcell of about 4 or 5000 pair here which I can procure at one Livres seven Sols (1..7s) a pair I thought the cheapness might tempt you. I beg you will Favour me with your Answer & I hope with your Order to enter on this Business. You may depend I will give satisfaction if it is possible to do it by great Industry & little Profit. Please to say in your Answer whether you will contract for Prices or have the Business done on Commission. I think the former way much less liable to Difficulty & Disatisfaction for it will be a long accot of a thousand little Charges, please to say also what the uniform shall be as Congress mentions several.

I am ever with the greatest Respect & sincere Wishes for many happy Years Your dutifull & affectionate Kinsman

Jona Williams J

Mariamne desires her dutifull Respects & Compliments of the Season.

Notation: J Williams Jan 1 1780

1JW wrote to WTF later that day, asking him to show the patterns to BF, and to keep the present letter handy so that BF would see the prices along with the samples. APS.

2Congress had ordered “100,000 Shirts for Soldiers well made of strong bleached Dowlas or Morlaix Linnen; the Shirts of two Sizes, half of each, the smallest, one Yard long in the Body, the largest, one Yard and one sixteenth long in the Body, the Sleeves of the smallest nine sixteenths of a Yard long, the Sleeves of the largest ten Sixteenths of a Yard long, two Buttons on the Collar, and one on the underpart of each Sleeve, with Button holes on the other parts.” Estimate of Articles; see BF to JW, Dec. 22, above.

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