Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Francis Coffyn, 13 January 1781

To Francis Coffyn

AL (draft) and copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Jan. 13. 1781


I received your several Favours of Dec. 15 & 27.4 I thank you much for the timely News you sent me of the English Declaration of War against Holland. I believe that tho’ they may make some present Profit by so unjust a Proceeding, they will in time have great Cause to repent of it.

Mr Wharton was still in France when you wrote to me concerning him, having been unfortunately detain’d many Months at L’Orient by the Alliance going off without him, & the Accidents that befel the Ariel. He did not sail till the 18th past. His Brothers at Philadelphia with whom I suppose he is connected in Business,5 are Men of good Substance & Character, and I imagine there is no Danger of your expected Remittances, tho’ the Circumstances of War may occasion some Delay.— The Luzerne6 is return’d to L’Orient, and perhaps you have now receiv’d Letters relating to that Affair.—

Only one of the four Men you reliev’d, viz. Heminway,7 appear’d here.—

I have the honour to be, with much Esteem Sir,

Mr Coffyn Negt. Dunkerque

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Coffyn wrote on the 15th and 28th, above.

5Samuel Wharton had nine brothers and five half-brothers, including three well-known merchants, Thomas (XI, 449n), Joseph, Jr. (XXVII, 229n), and Charles: Anne H. Wharton, “The Wharton Family,” PMHB, I (1877), 326–7, 329, 455–9.

6I.e., the Chevalier de La Luzerne.

7John Hemmenway; see our editorial headnote on promissory notes, above. According to the Alphabetical List of Escaped Prisoners he was from Boston. A carpenter of that name was committed to Forton Prison in September, 1778: Kaminkow, Mariners, p. 88.

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