Benjamin Franklin Papers
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Jonathan Williams, Jr., to William Temple Franklin, 24 July 1781

Jonathan Williams, Jr., to William Temple Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Nantes July 24. 1781.

Dear Billy

I send you inclosed a Specimen of an Improvement I have made in copying.7 When you write for more english Papers pray order an equal quantity for me.

I forgot to pay for my hat when I came away, please to pay the Man when he calls. I also forgot to give you Mr Austins Draft for what he owed the Doctor, please to tell me how much it is & send me down Austins note canceled, and I will remit you the Money; I will remit at the same time the 5 Guineas the Doctor lent Mr Oliver. Pray are any new Orders for Cloathing to be given to replace what was lost in the Marquis de la Fayette? I see some american Houses are buying up Coarse Cloths. Let me know my good Friend if anything is to be done that I may apply in time. I am ever yours most affectionately8

Jona Williams

Endorsed: Ansd 4. Augt9

Notation: J. Williams. July 24. 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7JW explained his innovation, taking three copies from one sheet, in his enclosures, of which only the original and one copy survive (APS). Two copies could be taken from the original before it dried, he wrote, and a third could be taken from the “back” of the first. Since the third one would be a positive copy (the reverse of the reverse side), one could use normal paper to take the impression. This method would only work if the original were one-sided.

8JW wrote again on July 26: WTF should please not forget to order more copying paper for him, and ought also to send the recipe for ink. He is sure that the “thinnest Paper in Paris” would do, for the time being, and so WTF should please order him a ream each of folio and quarto. APS.

9WTF did not think much of JW’s method of taking multiple copies, and added that they had discovered that papier de soye, a thin, ungummed paper, worked as well as the English copying paper. He would therefore not send to England for replacements, and would forward a ream of the French paper to JW. He also enclosed Austin’s receipt for the money he had borrowed from BF. Library of Congress.

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