Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to Emmanuel-Yves Bersolle, 22 April 1778

The American Commissioners to Emmanuel-Yves Bersolle8

AL (draft):9 Library of Congress

Passi April 22d. 1778


Your Bill upon our Banker was not paid, because it was drawn without our leave; and before you had sent us the Accounts to shew we were your Debtors.

When we have examind your Accounts and found them just; we shall give you Notice, that our Banker will pay your Draft for the Sum due. We conceive you cannot with any sort of propriety require payment sooner. We are, Sir, Your most Obedient Servants.

A Monsr. Monsr. Bersolle, Negociant a Brest

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8A Brest merchant and postal director (1750–1812), like his father before him. From information kindly furnished us by the conservateur, Archives municipales, Brest. James Moylan had introduced him to John Paul Jones in March, as the supplier who would provide whatever was necessary on the commissioners’ account. The advances were heavy; on the 24th Moylan inquired of Jones what Parisian house would cover them, but repeated his assurance that they would be paid. On April 1 Bersolle submitted a bill for charges for the Ranger from March 25, amounting to 2,352 l.t.: Charles Henry Lincoln, comp., A Calendar of John Paul Jones Manuscripts in the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C., 1903), pp. 37–8. He was paying Jones’s expenses, in other words, on Moylan’s promise that the commissioners would be responsible for them. At some time in the next few weeks, we suspect, he discovered that they were making difficulties, and sent a now missing protest; this is the first draft of their reply.

9Or possibly a copy. It is in Arthur Lee’s hand and was not sent, we assume, but replaced by the version below, May 3.

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