Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jean de Neufville & fils, [before 4 July 1779]

From Jean de Neufville & fils

ALS:6 American Philosophical Society

[before July 4, 1779]7

High Honourable Sir.

We begg leave to address oúr selfs again to Your Excellency, and to begg for her favoúrs by the personall appearance of oúr Worthy frend Mr. Dumas, the Worthy Agent for Congress—8 He would be Kind enough to charge himself with this present, and we dare promitt oúr selfs from his frendship, that if yoúr Excellence already had some goodness for ús he will strenghten it.

We were favoúred with the sight of the Plan he is the bearer of, the prospect of its being determind upon, gave ús great pleasure, as we were not entirely Strange to it, may that time be not farr distant.9

We fúrther make free to referr to Mr. Dúmas about what we had already begged as a favoúr from yoúr Excellence to be honourd with so múch confidence as is required for Commissioners for trade and Navigation and Treasúrers fr. Congress and every Private State of the United States of North America through the Seven United Provinces;1

We should likewise be glad to referr to his intercession aboút the proposed Loan, and this we most heartily do, bútt we múst here observe that as for the terms, it is more in the Mercantile way, then he himself perhaps should chúse to meddle with, that we wont faill to give yoúr Excellence as to the terms all satisfaction possible, and that we, if only we may be Súre the form will some thing agree with what we had the honoúr to propose we think there will be no objection bútt we flatter oúr selfs more and more that we shall succed to satisfaction. May the 4th. of this Month be happy again to America we propose to Celebrate this Anniversary of its Independence with all the Gentlemen belonging to the States; may the next involve the Connection of the Two Republicqs!

We remain with all devoted Regard High Honourable Sir! Yoúr most Obedient and faithfull Servants

John DE Neufville & Son.

Notation: Neufville John & son

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6In the hand of the Amsterdam banker Jean de Neufville who had been trying on BF’s behalf to raise a loan in the Netherlands. He and his son Leendert’s firm had been communicating with BF about Dutch affairs since the end of May: XXIX, 586–7, 661–2, 692–5, 759–60, 761–3.

7Based on the reference in the text to celebrating the anniversary of American independence. The subjects under discussion point to 1779 as the year.

8Charles-Guillaume-Frédéric Dumas was preparing to leave for a visit to Passy: Dumas to BF, July 6. Dumas’ friendship with de Neufville was not uncritical; he planned to discuss the banker with BF in person: XXIX, 705.

9In September, 1778, William Lee and Jean de Neufville had drafted an American-Dutch commercial treaty. Dumas had been sent it by a mutual friend to make a fair copy and brought it to Passy with him: XXIX, 100, 126, 194–5. On July 28–Aug. 3 de Neufville wrote to the president of Congress announcing several minor changes in the draft treaty: Stevens, Facsimiles, X, nos. 939–40; JCC, XV, 1361. Henry Laurens took that letter as well as a copy of the draft treaty with him when he sailed for the Netherlands in 1780. When he was captured by the British, they used the draft treaty as an excuse to declare war on the Netherlands: Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Diplomacy of the American Revolution (rev. ed., Bloomington, Ind., 1957), pp. 160–1. When the British government released Laurens’ papers to the press, the July 28–Aug. 3 letter was mistakenly published as being from de Neufville to BF; see, for example, the Dec. 22, 1780, issue of the London Courant, and Westminster Chronicle and the Annual Register, XXIII (1780), 365–6.

1XXIX, 693n, 704–5.

Index Entries