Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Edward Bridgen, 17 September 1779

From Edward Bridgen9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Sepr 17 1779

Dear Sir

I have sent to the care of our good Monsieur Genet 2 Samples of Metal intended for the Current Coin,1 where they are doubtless much wanted and yield an immense profit to the Govermt.

I hereby engage to deliver at the port of London as fine in quality and of the Same Size and weight as those samples any quantity at 14 d Sterling per pound weight—Package, Cartage and other Incidental expences to be paid by the purchaser. Peices of half the weight or double the weight may be had on the same Terms and all of the best Copper. These peices are ⅓ of an Ounce and may well pass for the Same value as half pence do in England. I beg to know your sentiments as soon as possible otherways the proprietor must make his offer to another quarter here.

If a Die is wanting that may also be procured here with the necessary implements for working the Same. In that case proper drawings must be furnished but I think it would not be so prudent to have the execution here.

As it will be a ready Money Article upon the delivery of the Metal the Cash or good Bills at 2 Usa should be provided and if the proposal be accepted I wish to know your opinion how much may be wanted.

May your most valuable life be preserv’d to Nestorian age2 or as long as you can be happy in yourself and can contribute to the felicity of Mankind is the sincere wish of my Dr Sir Yr: faithful & affect.

Edwd: Bridgen

Notation: Edw Bridgen 17 7bre 1779.3

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9This is the first mention of Bridgen’s plan to supply Congress with blank copper rounds, to be stamped and used for coinage. BF was enthusiastic but lacked the authorization to contract for the copper; see his answer of Oct. 2. When Bridgen wrote a formal proposal to Congress in 1782 BF forwarded it with his endorsement (to Livingston, Dec. 24, 1782, National Archives) but the plan was never adopted.

1Edme-Jacques Genet forwarded the samples with a cover letter dated Sept. 29, which asked BF for confirmation of their receipt. APS.

2BF had reached it: Nestor was in his seventies while dispensing sage advice in the Iliad.

3Elsewhere on the same sheet as the notation are the following jottings in BF’s hand: “1000 lt   48000 Pieces   Cost £58.6.8”.

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