Benjamin Franklin Papers

Memorandum on a Proposed Dutch Loan, [April 1779]

Memorandum on a Proposed Dutch Loan5

D: Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères

[April, 1779]

M. de Neuville d’amsterdam Continue a Donner de Bonnes Esperances Sur L’emprunt de M. franklin, qu’il n’a fait que pressentir parceque L’emprunt de Langleterre, La prise de Ste. Lucie, Celle de Pondichery6 et quelque tentatives Reelles ou Supposées de M. Neker pour trouver de L’argeant en hollande, luy ont parus trop importants pour operer en mesme tems pour Compte des americains. Les pertes immenses du Commerce de france ne Laisseroient aucun Espoir de Ressource dans Les Banquiers de Paris, qui gardent tous Leurs moyens pour Secourir et encore très faiblement Les Negotiants des Ports. Les Bezoings de M. franklin ne Sont pas urgents et il faut Esperer que M de Neufville aura procuré des fonds avant que Ceux de M. franklin Soyent epuisés.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5This statement by Jean de Neufville of his continued optimism for the chances of negotiating a loan in Holland is in the hand of Chaumont, who sometimes acted as an intermediary between BF and Vergennes and who presumably furnished the memorandum to the foreign ministry. We believe it provides information intended by de Neufville for BF. The American minister himself discussed French finances in his May 26 letter to the committee for foreign affairs. For his skepticism about the success of de Neufville’s efforts see his March 12 letter to Dumas.

6The March 23 issue of the Gaz. de Leyde (no. 24, supp.) carried news of the capitulation five months earlier of Pondicherry, the chief French trading post in India. The Caribbean island of St. Lucia was captured by the British in December, 1778: XXVIII, 347–50.

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