Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 28 April 1777

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society; letterbook copy: Yale University Library

Nantes April 28. 1777.

Dear and honored Sir

I have spoken to the Gentleman who gave me the plan. Mr. Anthus the second in the House has thoughts of going into that Country soon, in the mean time they will make the necessary enquiries relative to Seamen. I understand the place they propose to build in is not in the Government of Sweden but of prussia.3

I have returned the articles to Mr. S. to make the additional one relative to the dissolution in case of its not answering. As to Capital he observed it would be as much as would be wanted in the manner we propose to do Business there being only the ordinary charges requisite to be paid, and as to advances that should never be wanted, the Goods being arrived.4 I have the highest Confidence in Mr. Alexanders Sagacity and wish you to send the articles to him: I want to converse with you and him which is better than writing.

I am obliged to break of being just setting of to Painbeuf. I am ever most dutifully and affectionately Yours

J Williams Junr

I sent your Letter to Mr. Rumsey

Addressed: Doctor Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3The plan was for shipbuilding, and “that Country” was presumably Prussia. The commissioners had had Sweden in mind; one of them should go there, Deane had recently proposed to Gérard, to oversee the construction of three ships of fifty to sixty guns. Jean Anthus was second in the House of Wilfelsheim, and was subsequently associated with Wilfelsheim’s brother in Nantes. See JW’s second letter to the commissioners above, April 12; Deane Papers, II, 44–6; Lüthy, Banque protestante, II, 695 n.

4This business arrangement with Schweighauser, even more sketchily adumbrated in earlier letters from JW, never progressed beyond the planning stage, doubtless because the young man was appointed three days later the commissioners’ agent in Nantes; see their letter to him below, May 1.

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