Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas O’Gorman, 10 March 1778

From Thomas O’Gorman2

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

A Tonnerre ce 10 mars 1778


A la garde de Dieu et conduite du Sieur Moreau voiturier de cette ville, vous recevrez, dans la journée de Lundi prochain la quantité de treize feuillettes de vin recolte 1775, dont six de rouge et une de blanc3 premiere cuvée toutes emballées, et six de rouge seconde cuvée sans être emballées, le tout bien soutiré et rempli à tirefonds, bondons rasés et rouannés,4 lesquelles treize feuillettes vous etant livrées bien conditionnées il vous plaira en donner decharge au voiturier et lui payer pour prix de sa voiture à raison de vingt quatre livres par chaque Muid composé de deux feuillettes et les petits droits de route dont il presentera les quittances.5 C’est de l’avis de Monsieur votre trés humble et trés obeissant serviteur

Le Chevalier O’Gorman

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / Maison de M. de Ray de Chaumont / a Passy

Three notations in different hands:

voiture 156.  
droits  2.1.7

payé 162 l.t. / Passy March 10th 1778 Bill for hire of Voiture

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For BF’s old acquaintance see above, XIX, 86–7 n. The last time he had sent wine, as far as we know, was in the spring of 1773: XX, 6.

3On the 14th O’Gorman wrote to say that this feuillette was a present, and to ask for prompt payment of the enclosed bill because he needed cash. The bill was for the six feuillettes of the first growth at 250 l.t. apiece and the six of the second at 150 l.t. plus 18 l.t. for packing, a total of 2,418 l.t.; please send the money to his friend Droüet in Paris. On the 31st he wrote again, to congratulate BF on his reception at court. In a postscript he explained that the wine was dear because currently in short supply, and that his prices would fall if the next vintage were more abundant. Again he asked for prompt payment: his absence in Ireland and the expense of furthering his children’s careers had left him short of money. In both these letters (APS) he referred to the instructions that he had sent for handling the wine; they were presumably with the present letter but have disappeared. Although O’Gorman was apparently dealing with BF alone, the commissioners eventually paid the bill; see Grand’s accounts with them (above, XXIV, 3), entry of May 26.

4The terms need explaining. A feuillette was 100 to 140 litres. The wine was drawn off the lees (soutiré), and the casks were strengthened with iron hoops tightened by screws (tiresfonds); bondons rasés et rouannés we take to mean bungs filed down and fitted with wooden tags to be marked in customs inspections.

5The journey of the wine can be traced from three of these receipts that survive. On the 12th the wagon with its four horses was at St.-Aubin and on the 13th at Pont-sur-Yonne (University of Pa. Library); on the 15th it cleared the bureau des aides at Essonnes, near Paris (APS). This last receipt stipulated that seven feuillettes were for BF and six for Chaumont. An unsigned, undated bill in the University of Pa. Library for 9 l.t. covers the next stage in preparing BF’s consignment for the table: cellaring the wine, bottling one feuillette, and providing 220 corks. In late April 900 glass bottles were purchased for the Burgundy at a cost of 243 l.t.: WTF’s accounts (above, XXIII, 19), entry of April 25.

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