Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 17 March 1781

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Nantes March 17. 1781

Dear & hond sir

I have received your much esteemed Favour of the 8 Inst in which you refer me to Mr de Chaumont for the Balance of the Officers Cloathing & I have drawn on him accordingly.— The Situation of Mrs Williams has been such that my absence would have perhaps been attended with Loss of her. I have however taken such Care of the Business at L’Orient that there has not been any delay. I can do no good ’till the ship is loaded as ’till then my Clerk does all as well as I could: I shall be there in a very few Days. I understand that the ship is to go to Brest6 if that is decided please to give me an Order for the Purpose as I should be liable to censure were I to send her thither without it. Mr de Chaumont I understand has directed the Captain to ask for a Bill on you for the Freight. I cannot give that ’till I have the Certificate of the Bordeaux Gauge which has never been sent me. Messr Jauge has indeed given me a Copy of it, but I do not think that sufficiently Authentic to support me in giving Bills according to the Charterparty, unless you direct me to do so. I have sent Messr Gourlade & Moylan all the Papers I had relative to the Affair of the arms.

I am not surprised that Messieurs L & I7 should endeavour to injure me they will probably think themselves successfull as I do not expect any Post under Congress having never solicited one & I assure you I never shall; I should be surprised indeed if they were to give me a good name & I should in such a Case say “What evil have I done that these Fellows should speak well of me.”

I am ever most dutifully & affectionately Yours

Jona Williams J

my next will be from L’orient.

Endorsed: Officers Clothing There has been no Delay on his Part at L’Orient

Notation: J. Williams. Mar 17. 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Whence a convoy for America, under the escort of the Sagittaire, 50, would soon sail: Dull, French Navy, p. 224. The Lafayette would not be among them. On March 16, Capt. de Galatheau wrote to James Moylan and John Barry from Lorient that he had been ordered to lend most of his crew for three days to assist in loading other ships sailing for the East Indies in the King’s service, and therefore would not be ready to sail with the convoy, which was leaving Lorient for Brest that very day. Could the Alliance escort him to Brest, and, if the convoy had left without him, accompany him at least as far as Teneriffe? Moylan had the letter copied on March 30 and forwarded it to BF who endorsed it, “Capt. Galatheau March 16 1781 Excuse for not Sailing with the Convoy.” APS. Galatheau’s own copy is also at the APS.

7Lee and Izard.

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