From Jonathan Williams, Jr.
ALS: American Philosophical Society; copy: Yale University Library
Nantes April 20. 1779.
Dear & hond. Sir.—
The two Boxes for Mr Watson came to hand a few days since and I shall embrace the first opportunity to Ship them.4 I would do it by the Alliance if I could, but Capt Landais does not think himself justifiable in taking any Goods, Types however (being of public Utility,) may perhaps be an exception.—5
I am Dear & hond Sir Most dutifully & respectfully yours
Jona Williams J
The Hon. Doctor Franklin
Notation: Jona Williams Nantes 20 avril 1779.
4. These were the two boxes of petit romain type which BF had ordered from Fournier le jeune in September, 1778, and which were ready in February, 1779: XXVIII, 505. Watson had entrusted his request for type, along with an advance payment of 1,364 l.t. 13 s., to Capt. Robert Niles, who deposited the sum with BF’s banker Ferdinand Grand in August, 1778: XXVI, 547n; XXVII, 227–8; Cash Book (Account XVI, XXVI, 3), entry of March 29, 1779. Fournier’s bill for these two boxes amounted to only about one third of Watson’s account. With the remaining 840 l.t., BF intended to supply Watson with a font of brevier (Cash Book, ibid.). This was to be cast at his own foundry in Passy, which was in its infancy; the first recorded payments for salaries and supplies were on April 3 (Cash Book). Watson’s font of brevier was completed in 1780, packed in three cases, and placed on the Alliance along with these two cases of Fournier’s type. Watson died before the Alliance sailed for America, and BF directed that the type be delivered to Gov. Trumbull: BF to the commander of the Alliance, July 11, 1780 (Library of Congress).
5. BF agreed that type was an item for the public good and, in a letter now missing, gave orders that it be shipped on the Alliance. JW conveyed this information to both Watson and Niles in letters of, respectively, April 30 and May 8 (Yale University Library).