Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Hutton, 11 April 1778

From James Hutton

ALS: American Philosophical Society

11 April 1778.

My Dear Old Friend

The Bearer of this is a Mr. D’Aguiton of Geneva, a very honest worthy man whom I Love and who deserves it. He has an affair of Merchandise to settle with a Mr. Haywood at Paris, said to be known to you.8 Mr. Aguiton begs me to recommend him to you to be of any Assistance to Him that He may want, if He should want it, in this Matter.

I never knew you refuse a kind Service to any man. It will give you little trouble. The Bearer of this is one whom I interest myself much for and I am glad that He gets that opportunity of embracing you which I am deprived of.

Mr. Falconar is dead as well as his wife.

If that Paper be ready relative to my Request about Labradore,9 He will bring it safe to me who am your faithful and affectionate


Notation: M. Hutton April 11. 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8We cannot identify d’Aguiton, who was doubtless an acquaintance from Hutton’s years with the Moravians in Switzerland. He enclosed this letter in a note of his own that is below, April 28. His “Merchandise,” to judge by Hutton’s next letter on the 19th, was money owed a widow and her children. That letter refers to Haywood as a Canadian. He was, we assume, William Haywood, a Montreal merchant and business associate of his fellow townsman James Price (for whom see above, XXII, 360–1 n). They helped the Americans in the Canadian campaign, and their accounts came before Congress repeatedly until, in October of 1777, the two received by way of settlement a draft on the commissioners for almost 40,000 Spanish dollars. We have found no further trace of Price, but Haywood was in Paris by the time this letter was written. He was undoubtedly known to BF, for soon after April 15 he carried to Bordeaux a letter of that date from the commissioners. Bondfield and he subsequently went into business together, outfitting privateers in Bordeaux and shipping goods to America. Boyd, Jefferson Papers, I, 453; XVII, 578; JCC, IX, 811–12; Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 63 n; Bondfield to the commissioners below, April 28; bond from Haywood, Bondfield, et al. for a letter of marque, March 19, 1779, APS. On March 17 the commissioners made a payment of 4800 l.t. to “Haywood”; that sum was reimbursed by June 30: Grand’s Accounts, above, XXIV, 3.

9Presumably a safe conduct for a ship carrying supplies to the Moravian mission. Hutton had asked for it in January, and BF had apparently promised to help: above, XXV, 506, 529.

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