Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to James Lovell, 2 December 1780

To James Lovell

LS:9 National Archives; copy: National Archives, Library of Congress; transcript: National Archives

Passy Decr 2. 1780.


I duly received your several Favours of Augt 15 & Sept. 7.1 with the Resolves of Congress for drawing on me Bills extraordinary to the Amount of near 300 thousand Dollars. To keep up the Credit of Congress, I had already engag’d for those drawn on Mr Lawrens.2 You cannot conceive how much these Things perplex and distress me. For the Practice of this Government being Yearly to apportion the Revenue to the Several expected Services, any After-demands made, which the Treasury is not furnish’d to Supply, meet with great Difficulty and are very disagreable to the Ministers. To enable me to look these Drafts in the Face, I have agreed to a Proposal contained in the enclosed Letter to the President,3 of Furnishing Provisions to the Kings Forces in America, which Proposal I hope will be approved and executed; and that the Congress will strictly comply with the Assurance you have given me, not to draw on me any more, without first knowing that they have Funds in my Hands.

I write to you more fully by Capt. Jones.4 He sailed some time since in the Ariel, but met with a severe Storm that entirely dismasted him, and obliged him to put back for France. He has been long refitting, but will sail again soon. Every Thing goes well here.

With great Esteem I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble Servant.

B Franklin

Honble. James Lovell Esqr.

Endorsed: Decr. 2d. 1780 Doct: Franklin to J L recd march 13

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9In WTF’s hand.

1XXXIII, 193–4, 259–60.

2XXXIII, 352–3, 465, 523. BF had requested money from the French government to, among other things, pay bills drawn on Laurens: XXXIII, 308n.

3To Huntington of this date, immediately above. BF does not mention the additional loan he had just received from the French government (for which see Vergennes to BF, Nov. 26).

4BF did not, as far as we know, write Lovell again until the following September. He did, however, send Huntington a lengthy letter on Dec. 3, below.

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