Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Sr.: Two Letters, 29 July 1779

From Jonathan Williams, Sr.: Two Letters

(I) and (II) ALS: American Philosophical Society


Boston July 29the 1779

Hond Sir

Capt. Collas hand me a few days ago your favour in which you propose a Schem of business partly for the benifit of your worth Sister & her once unhapy Son who is now no more he died about 13 months ago—3 On receiving your Letter I wrote aunt & Inclos’d your Letter & Desird her thoughts appon it, I Shall allway be happy to advance any monies that you Desire on any Acct. but Especially for the benifit of my much Esteemd aunt, its a great pity the Acct. that your Brother Left Should be Lost—4 However this I have found When I have advanced monies for persons who Depended on me for their Support & put them into business it Cost me more than maintainng of them Intirely tho’ I belive aunt would have had Somthing beferehand if all that was a burden to her were Out of the way for as Long as Som people Can find assissdence they will not provid for themselves tho’ they might do it if they would be as Industerous as those that maintain them tho’ I Belive my Aunt Mecom is as Worty a Woman a Live & had She no better Friend then my Self She Should not want what I Could & would Spare—

The Bearer of this is Col. Watson of Plimouth5 he desires me to mention him to you as a Stranger your Civilities to him as Such Will Oblige— Our famley are All well With Duty & Love I am yr Nephew & Most Hble Servt

Jona Williams

Addressed: His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr / at Passy near Paris / France / per favour of mr Watson

Notation: Jona Williams Boston July 29. 1779


Boston July 29. 1779

Hond Sir

The Bearer mr Knox Brother to our General Knox Comes to France partly on Business & partly for Improvement as he will be A Stranger your Civilities to him as Such will Oblige Your Dutyfull Nephew & Hble Servt.

Jona Williams

Addressed: His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Eqr / at Passy near Paris— / France / per Wm Knox

Notation: Jona Williams Boston July 29. 79

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3BF’s letter, now missing, probably was dated Nov. 27, 1778; see Williams’ of Aug. 8, below. The unhappy son was the late Peter Mecom.

4Upon the death of his widow, part of John Franklin’s estate had reverted to his nephew (and former apprentice) Peter Mecom: codicil to John Franklin’s Will, Jan. 22–4, 1756 (APS). Income from BF’s half-sister Elizabeth Franklin Douse’s estate had also been used to support the young man with Jonathan Williams handling the arrangements: V, 66–7; VI, 454; X, 354–61.

5Elkanah Watson, Jr., son of Col. Watson (XXIX, 723n). He and Knox (recommended in letter II) traveled to France together on the packet Mercury: Winslow C. Watson, ed., Men and Times of the Revolution; or, Memoirs of Elkanah Watson … (New York, 1856), pp. 76–8.

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