Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 5 June 1780

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library; copy: Yale University Library

Nantes June 5. 1780—

Dear & hond Sir.

I wrote you the 20th of May to which I refer, as I have no answer I have not taken any decisive Step relative to a Ship to carry out the Goods. Mr Ross is since arrived here & I have consulted with him, I shew him the Letter I wrote you the 20 Inst & find his Opinions and mine exactly agree. It is certain no man will freight at this Time without being paid a very high Price, & his Ship insured into the Bargain. Congress must therefore run all the risque and pay in Freight a large Sum of money, which Sum of money would go a great way towards purchasing & fitting a Ship & the risque would be no more. In the one case the freight paid is a dead Expence, in the other the Ship is always worth her Cost & the whole Freight is gained. The large Ship I mentioned to you in my last is yet unsold & may be bought if you can command Funds at 3, 6 & 9 months this vessell armed as I have already mentioned would answer our Purpose, or if you do not choose a new Ship I could buy 2 or 3 Smaller Ones which would be much cheaper but they would not answer the purposes of Congress when on the other side of the Water.—

Mr Ross has concluded to take a Trip to Paris to consult with you in Person on this Business and I shall do nothing ’till I hear the Result of your Conference.2

I am ever with the greatest Respect Yours most dutifully and affectionately

Jona Williams J

Notation: J Williams June 5. 1780

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Ross left the following morning, and JW wrote to WTF on that day suggesting that he hand Ross the copy of JW’s accounts, certified by BF, that WTF had agreed to have made. If WTF could not find a copyist, then he should ask BF’s permission to send the original to Nantes and let JW have it copied there. APS. JW had first requested that WTF arrange for a copy (at JW’s expense) on March 27, since he had sent his own to America with Lafayette. He had reminded WTF of that request on May 9: APS; Yale University Library.

Index Entries