From James Woodmason3
ALS: American Philosophical Society
[December 25, 1779]4
The Order you gave me, is at last, with much disappointment to myself compleated. I desird Mr: Caslon to acquaint you that Mr: Whatman had made me a Parcel, which upon tryal did not bear Ink strong enough. About 2 months since he finish’d another which pleased me much, this Ltre is on a Sht: of it. I immediately sent 2 Reams to be Marbled, & till this day could not by any means get it done, the reason given me by the Marbler is, that he has been obligd to Marble each Sheet 3 Times. If I have your pardon for the Delay & the Paper gives you satisfaction, I shall feel much pleasure. By the next Amsterdam Ship, shall without fail send it & shall be much obliged to have a Line, whether it gives satisfaction.
Mr: Beaumarchais Agent Mr: Le Tellier is now in London. I have made him some Paper for his Proposals. But I find that he is not yet determined whither to use English Paper or not.5 My Father is in Buckinghamshire & was well, when last I heard of him, he desires his affectionate respects to you & expressed that he wish’d me to return you his Thanks for your very kind reception to me. I am Sir Your most Obedt: & very Obligd hble Servt
Addressed: To His Excellency / Benjn: Franklin Esqr: / Paris
Notation: Woodmason Mr. James 4 Jany. 1780.
3. The London stationer who had visited BF in June, 1779, and received an order from him for “12 Ream of large fine thick Post.” Woodmason was the chief distributor for James Whatman’s wove paper. See XXX, 609–12.
4. The date is based on Woodmason’s next letter of Jan. 4, 1780, below. The two must have been filed together (as indicated by the notation).
5. Beaumarchais sent Jean-François Le Tellier to London at the end of the summer to select type and paper for the proposed edition of Voltaire’s works (XXX, 609). Woodmason eventually got the commission, thanks to BF’s recommendation. John Dreyfus, “The Baskerville Punches 1750–1950,” The Library, 5th series, V (1950–1), pp. 34–5; Brian N. Morton, “Beaumarchais et le prospectus de l’édition de Kehl,” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, LXXXI (1971), p. 138; Woodmason to BF, Nov. 1, 1780 (APS).