Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from John Jay, 18 March 1782

From John Jay

AL (draft):5 Columbia University Library

Madrid 18 March 1782

Dr Sir

All our Trouble and anxiety abt the Bills payable here this Month has been in vain they are protested. The following are the Reasons which I have desired the Notary to recite exactly in the Protest vizt (here insert Reasons verb. [verbatim])6 It is proper you shd be informed that Mr. Garbarrus [Cabarrus], some Months ago voluntary offered (thro Mr. Carmichael) to furnish me even with 100,000 Dollr. per Month provided the Minister wd agree to put it on the same footing on which he had contracted to furnish certain Supplies to Govt.— I need not observe that this did not take place.7 You know that Mr Cabarrus had advanced about 30,000 Dollars towards our Bills.8 The Minister lately gave him an order for 26,000 Dollars being somewhat more than the Ballance due on the 150000 Dollars of which my former Letters have often made mention so that my Debt to Mr Cabarrus has been considerably diminished.9 This Gentleman has also often authorised Mr Carmichael to assure me of his Readiness to advance what might be necessary to pay the Residue of our Bills if the Minister or the Embassador of France wd. become responsible for the Reimbursmt. with Interest in a convenient Time. The twelve Day of the Month he renewed this offer to me in very express Terms telling me he would wait ten or twelve Months for the Money.

On the 15th. Inst. the Minister consented that Mr Cabarrus shd. supply me to the Amount of 40 or 50 thousd. Current Dollars on these Terms. But Mr Cabarrus then insisteed that the Rents of the post office shd be charged with the Repaymt of this Sum at the Rate of 200,000 Reals of Vollon pr. Month. With this new Condition the Minister refused to comply—and the protest of the Bills became inevitable.

This is a Subject on which I could make some interesting Remarks & add some Singular Circumstance but they must be deferred to another opportunity.

Wd it be posible to take up & pay these Bills at Paris?

I am Dr Sir with sincere Esteem and Regarrd your obliged & obt Servt

J J.

His Exy Dr Franklin
To Dr. Franklin 18 March 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Printed, with many of Jay’s cancellations indicated, in Morris, Jay: Peace, pp. 143–4.

6When the bills were protested, Jay explained that he did not have time to have recourse to Congress for paying his outstanding debts, which were no more than £25,000 sterling. He did not blame BF for his inability to help (XXXVI, 451–2): Morris, Jay: Peace, p. 144n. Jay’s efforts to avoid defaulting on the loans are detailed in Morris, Jay: Peace, pp. 130–4. Jay might have been spared the embarrassment had BF not waited until March 16 (above) to tell him that Vergennes had promised a new loan of 6,000,000 l.t., news he communicated to Robert Morris on March 4 (XXXVI, 650). Neither, apparently, did he suggest to Vergennes that he pass the news to Jay through French Ambassador Montmorin, as Vergennes only informed the ambassador about it on March 14 (AAE).

7Spanish Chief Minister Floridablanca refused to cooperate with Cabarrus, claiming the Spanish government needed whatever money the banker could command: Morris, Jay: Peace, p. 131.

8Jay had reported this to BF on Jan. 11: XXXVI, 424.

9See Jay’s March 1 letter to BF: XXXVI, 635.

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