Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to Francis M. Dana, 11 May 1781

To Francis M. Dana

LS:9 Yale University Library; ALS (draft) and copy: Library of Congress

Passy. May 11th. 1781

Dear Sir,

I received your Favour of the 1st. Instant;1 and immediately apply’d to Mr. Grand our Banker to furnish you with the Credit you desir’d at Amsterdam.2 He acquainted me that having a Correspondent at Petersburgh, he could give you a direct Credit there;3 and that the Chancellor Count Osterman being an old Friend of his, he would write and recommend you.4 I accepted his Proposition of a direct Credit on Petersburgh, supposing that would be more convenient to you than receiving the Money in Holland; but I declin’d his Letter to Count d’Osterman, ’till you should desire it, as you did not propose immediately to assume your public Character; and I requested him to recommend you for the present only to his Banker as a Gentleman travelling for Curiosity, &c. Mr. Grand writes to you by this Post, and sends his Letter of Credit. On second thoughts If you should have Occasion for a part of the Money in Holland, you can draw on me for the Sum you want, and I will honour your Bill; in which case you will receive so much less on the Petersburgh Credit. I should have answer’d your Letter sooner if the Course of the Posts had permitted it. But you know the Letters receiv’d here from Holland on Monday, cannot be answered till the Friday following.

I most heartily wish you a good Journey, and all the Success imaginable in your Negociations being with great Esteem, Dear Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

His Excelly. Francis Dana Esqr.

Endorsed: Dr: Franklin’s Letter May 11th. 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9In Mumford’s hand, except for the last seven words of the complimentary close, which are in BF’s hand.

1Missing. The letter from Dana of that date printed above deals with a different topic.

2For Dana’s impending diplomatic mission to the Russian court see XXXIV, 188–9, 514–16, 517–19.

3Dana received a credit of £1,500 for his mission: BF to Huntington, May 14, below. Grand’s correspondent in St. Petersburg was the firm of Strahlborn & Wolff: Dana to BF, Oct. 31, below.

4Count Ivan Andreevich Osterman (1715–1811) was vice chancellor of Russia from 1775 to 1796: Nina N. Bashkina et al., eds., The United States and Russia: the Beginning of Relations, 1765–1815 (Washington, D.C., 1980), p. 1136. His title was more imposing than his power or abilities, but it was to him that Dana in 1783 finally announced formally his mission: W.P. Cresson, Francis Dana: a Puritan Diplomat at the Court of Catherine the Great (New York and Toronto, 1930), pp. 205, 284, 286.

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