Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Lee, 30 March 1779

To William Lee

Copy:8 Library of Congress

Passy March 30th. 1779.


I do not recollect ever to have seen the Letter you mention. When Capt. Le Maire came over last year, and made known here the Wants of Virginia,9 I found three different Merchants of Ability who offer’d each of them separately to supply the whole. I do not know why their Offers were not accepted, & the Business hitherto remains undone.1 I have heard that Cannon & some Stores, have been obtained of the Government by your Brother but know not the Particulars. I shall be glad to see you on the Subject and to be better informed. I shall dine to day in the City, and will do myself the honor of calling on you, between 5 & 6 à Clock. But if it should be inconvenient to you to be then at home, I will expect you, if you please, at Passy the Morning following— I have the honor to be with great Respect Sir, &c—

B Franklin

Honble. W. Lee Esq.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8In the hand of WTF.

9Jacques Le Maire de Gimel had delivered William Lee’s orders from Virginia; he also brought a letter from Patrick Henry to BF: XXVI, 34–6; XXVII, 361.

1BF explained this in greater detail to Patrick Henry on Feb. 26: XXVIII, 611–12. The three merchants were Chaumont, Montieu, and a Mr. Bayard: BF to Arthur Lee, July 9 (Library of Congress). The last was probably François-Louis Bayard, who later claimed to have sent five munitions ships to America at BF’s instigation; four of them were captured, leading to Bayard’s bankruptcy: DBF; Jefferson Papers, VI, 399.

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