Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [ ――― Saintmartin], 1 September 1777

To [――― Saintmartin7]

AL (draft): Library of Congress

Passy, near Paris, Sept. 1. 1777.


I duly received yours of the 26th past, and am much concern’d at the Disappointment you complain of. But as I am totally unacquainted with Mr. Ceronio or his Connections, and have no Instructions relating to him or his Operations; and as Mr. Morris is not under the Direction of the Commissioners from the Congress residing in France, being only employ’d by a Committee to transact some Commercial Affairs, and will probably soon be recall’d for the Irregularity of his Conduct; it is improper for me to meddle in this Affair, and impossible for me to rectify it. The proper Application is to the said Committee of Congress, by a Letter to the Chairman, Mr. Robert Morris, Mercht. of Philadelphia: and I have no doubt that they will do you ample Justice by repairing any Damages you have or may suffer, either from Accident or the Mismanagement of the Persons by them employed. I have the honor to be

Letter to a Mercht of Bourdeaux

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Perhaps the Martinique merchant of the same name who was a correspondent of Emmanuel de Pliarne: Naval Docs., VII, 989. He was trying to collect a debt incurred by Stephen Ceronio, the agent of the secret committee at Cap Français. The letter that BF is answering, written from Bordeaux on Aug. 26 (APS), goes into the transaction in detail. Ceronio bought gunpowder, for which he paid partly with a promise of cash and partly with two bills of exchange on Thomas Morris at Delap’s address in Bordeaux. The cash never materialized; instead Ceronio gave two more bills. Morris at first declined to accept them, but finally instructed Delap to pay the first set, and the second when due. Delap refused, and Saintmartin threatened to protest and thereby shake the commissioners’ credit.

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