From Jonathan Williams, Jr.8
ALS: American Philosophical Society; letterbook copy: Yale University Library
[Nantes July 1st 17779]
Dear and honored Sir.
On the other Side is an Extract from the last letter I recvd. from Mr. Alexander. I send it to you that you may read his Sentiments relative to the proposed partnership,10 tho’ I confess I am afraid of troubling you too much with my affairs. You will see by my Letters to the Commissioners the part I have taken relative to the prizes. I will do the best I can and shall conduct with all the prudence I am master of. Although I assume this power in consequence of my Situation here as your agent, and the absence of Mr. Morriss, yet it is with the consent and desire of Mr. Ross who, without any request on my part, desired me to take the Charge on the public account, and I have his orders, (as being authorised to take it upon himself) for all I do. If Mr. Lee should arrive I shall pay him the due Respect and resign this power to him, and when Mr. Morriss arrives from Bordeaux, I shall agreeable to Mr. Ross’s direction act in conjunction with him, and avoid all kind of difficulty with any one. I am ever with the greatest Respect and affection Your dutiful Kinsman
8. This letter is out of the usual order because it was written before the one that follows.
9. Supplied from the copy.
10. In the extract on the verso, dated Dijon, June 23, Alexander regrets to hear that an agreement with Schweighauser is unlikely. Working for Congress will gradually establish JW’s reputation in Nantes and beyond; but, if he cannot handle the business alone with the help of his friends in Paris, he should contract with Schweighauser for three years “in a kind of apprenticeship in which you give only time.” A nine-year partnership would be inadvisable unless it secured him against all contingencies.