Benjamin Franklin Papers
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The American Commissioners to Horneca, Fizeaux & Cie., 2 October 1778

The American Commissioners to Horneca, Fizeaux & Cie.

Copies: Massachusetts Historical Society; National Archives (two)

Passi October 2d. 1778

Messieurs,

Nous voyons avec Plaisir, par votre Lettre du 17 Septembre, que vous avez bien compris L’arrangement proposé pour notre Emprunt et que vous y confirmerez,6 a l’exception de la Retinüe que vous demandez pouvoir faire dans la premiere Année de dix pour Cent qui ne doivent vous entrer que par dixieme chaque Année. Nous ne pouvons admettre cette Proposition parce qu’elle nous feroit exceder LInteret de Six pour Cent auquel nous sommes limités, et auquel nous devons nous tenir. Nous ne pouvons donc rien changer a cet egard.7 Nous sommes, Messieurs, vos tres humble et tres obeissants Serviteurs.8

Messrs. Horneca Fitzeaus & Co.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6This should read: “et que vous vous y conformerez.”

7Dumas, that very day, was giving an optimistic assessment of the situation. See below.

8The commissioners had no response to this letter and heard nothing more from the firm for months. On Dec. 6 they wrote to inquire what was happening (Mass. Hist. Soc.), and the reply on the 24th (APS) said that the loan was not yet filled. The correspondence dragged on from there, with no mention of how and how much the bankers were to be reimbursed for their services; the issue became moot as the project failed. The reasons for its failure are discussed in Friedrich Edler, The Dutch Republic and the American Revolution (Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, XXIX, no. 2, Baltimore, 1911), pp. 78–80.

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