Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Courtney Melmoth, [on or after 12 May 1778]

To Courtney Melmoth

AL (draft): American Philosophical Society

[On or after May 12, 1778]

It was with greater Inconvenience to myself, than you perhaps imagined that I furnished you with the 38 Guineas before, and now with 12 more, which make the whole 50 Guineas.1 I have too many Occasions for Money here, and too little to answer them. But I have relied and do rely on your Honour and Punctuality for the speedy Repayment:2 I wish you and Mrs. Melmoth a good Journey. It shall be a Secret with me as you desire, but I am sorry to understand that it is necessary. I am, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

Which I hereby desire you will make into the Hands of Mrs. Margaret Stevenson at Cheam in Surrey, to whom I shall send your Notes.

Notation: To Mr. Melmoth

1BF’s accounts show two loans to him, the first of 932 and the second of 360 l.t.: Waste Book, entries of Feb. 6 and May 15. The total of 1,292 l.t., at the exchange rate then current, was slightly more than 50 guineas.

2The reliance was small, and BF made two attempts to say so. He first wrote “Your Failure,” then substituted “The Disappointment,” then deleted that as well; the clause at the end, beginning with “Which,” he must have meant to follow here. Melmoth got the point. On the 16th he sent his note for the second loan enclosed in a letter to WTF, which he posted on his way to The Hague. He would pay his debts within six weeks, he promised, and asked that any creditors who turned up might be so informed. As for BF, he could only hope that “no idle censures may affect me in his opinion . . . His Judgment must be suspended.” The other item of interest in the letter is that “nothing shall tempt me to forget your newfoundland Dog.” APS.

Index Entries