Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to Gourlade, Bérard frères, & Monplaisir, 12 January 1778

The American Commissioners to Gourlade, Bérard frères & Monplaisir

Copy: Connecticut Historical Society

Passy 12th Jany 1778


Mr. Beaumarchais shewed us your Letter of the 7th Inst. by which we find that you had not so much Confidence in the Commissioners as to deliver the Cargo of the Amphitrite to their Order untill your Disbursements on the two Frigates should be paid you. On our part tho’ we were greatly surprised at the Amount of those Disbursements as well as the prices of particular Articles charged yet we accepted and discharged your Bills relying on your Honor that if any Error should appear in the Account it would be rectified by you.5 We must think that the Correspondence between us ought to have inspired greater Confidence or never to have existed at all. We are with due Respect Gentlemen Yours &c.


Messrs. Goulard Montplaisier Berard & Freres

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5The controversy over who was to have the cargo had already been settled; see the headnote above, Dec. 24. The commissioners expected the proceeds to come to them so that they might in turn settle with Beaumarchais, but the members of the consortium refused to pay until they were reimbursed for outfitting the Raleigh and Alfred. Now that that had been taken care of they were still, the commissioners believed, holding onto the cargo. It had in fact already been sold, as the firms announced in a lost letter of Jan. 12; but they gave no accounting. The commissioners’ next letter, in consequence, was still grumbling but less blunt: below, Jan. 21. On that day the consortium answered the present letter in an equally bad temper.

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