Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 25 April 1779

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Nantes April 25. 1779.—

Dear & hond Sir.—

This will be presented you by Mrs Richards who with her Children, is coming hither to meet & continue with her Husband.— Mr. Richards has been here some time past, & has been employed by Mr Johnson & myself in our ’Counting Houses, as his Intention is to continue in the american Business in this Place, or perhaps to settle with his Family in america, we look upon him as one of us; I therefore request you to consider his Family in the same View, & if any Obstacle should arise on acct of their being English, to facilitate their Departure from Paris so as they may come hither without any Interruption.— Mrs Richards does me the Favour to bring with her my young Friend, who tho’ the Fruit of an improper Connection is as dear to me as the tenderest of Natures Ties can make him, and the best proof I can give of a sincere Repentance I take to be a strict attention to the Dictates of Honour, which I am sure my Heart will never allow me in this Instance to swerve from, even were Duty out of the Question. Should he be a moment in your Presence, & should you condescend to grant him your Blessing it would make me happy.5

I write thus freely about my Errors because you have already pardoned them, & because I am sure you believe I will do all in my Power to repair them.

I am ever your dutifull & affectionate kinsman

Jona Williams J

Addressed: a monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / Ministre Plenipotentiaire / des Etats unis / en son Hotel a / Passy prés Paris

Notation: Williams Jona. April 25. 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5JW had first written BF about his illegitimate son on June 7, 1777: XXIV, 137–8. The boy, named Josiah after JW’s late blind brother, was born in late 1775 or early 1776 (JW to WTF, April 4, 1782, APS.) BF seems to have given him a warm reception; see JW’s letter of May 26.

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