Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Alexander J. Alexander, 17 June 1779

From Alexander J. Alexander3

ALS: American Philosophical Society

St Germain, 17th June 1779

Dr: Sir

I propose doing myself the Pleasure to call upon you on sunday Morning to communicate some letters that have past between a friend of yours & myself you may probably guess what the Subject is4 I hope I shall find you at home I beg my Complements to your Son & am most sincerely Dr Sir your Most Obt Humble Servt

A: J: Alexander

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / A Passi

Notation: A J Alexander st. Germain 17 june. 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3This is the first extant letter of the handful that BF received from the brother of his good friend William Alexander. Two years earlier William had told BF he was expecting him soon from the West Indies: XXIV, 199–200.

4The letters probably concerned a legal tangle involving the two brothers. Between 1763 and 1771 they (and a third brother, now deceased) had purchased two large estates in the recently captured Caribbean island of Grenada. William Alexander’s financial difficulties soon thereafter forced them to mortgage the estates to the banking firm of Walpole & Ellison. When William Alexander went bankrupt in 1775, Alexander John Alexander fought a delaying action in the courts of Grenada to prevent their joint properties from being seized by Walpole & Ellison. The French capture of the island in July, 1779, threw the dispute into the French courts: Price, France and the Chesapeake, II, 696–9.

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