Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Pieter Buyck, 11 February 1781

From Pieter Buyck8

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Gand 11. fevr. 1781

Son Excellence

N’ayant Jamais eu L’honneur de Vous Ecrire, Je prends la Liberté de le faire dans ce moment pour Vous envoier cy inclus une lettre de Votre ami Monsr. Thomas White d’amsterdam avec qui Je fais des affaires & qui me mende d’avoir des fonds chez vous,9 Daignez me dire Par le retour du courier S:V:P: Si Je pourrois disposer Sur votre Excellence pour compte dudt. ami (:de qui Je vous ferai passer La permission:) a quel terme & Jusqu’a quelle Somme.

Mon Commerce S’Etend en toutes Sortes de toilleries qui se Vendent ici a present à bas Prix Si vous Voulussiez faire Speculation honnorez moi de Vos ordres Je me flate de Vous Servir mieux que Personne & Promptement.

Ou En outre Je pourrois Vous Etre de quelque utilité ayez La complaisance de disposer librement de Celui qui a L’honneur d’Etre tres respectueusement Votre tres he Serviteur

Pr: Buyck

Son Excellence

Addressed: A Son Excellence / Doctor franklyn / A Paris

Endorsed: Answer’d recd 14th and answer’d same day1

Notation: Buyck, Gand 11. Fevr. 1781.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8This Ghent textile merchant later in 1781 sold 83,000 f. of linen to Alexander Gillon. His subsequent search for reimbursement took years: Pieter J. Van Winter, American Finance and Dutch Investment 1780–1805 … (James C. Riley, trans.; 2 vols., New York, 1977), I, 41.

9We have not found the enclosure, and cannot be certain of Thomas White’s identity. It is possible that he is the former prizemaster who had arrived in Dunkirk nine months earlier (XXXII, 363).

1BF’s draft of this answer is at the Library of Congress. He had received Buyck’s letter concerning Thomas White, “said to be a Friend of mine. I do not recollect any Knowledge of the said Mr White, but I am certain that I have no Money of his in my Hands; and I request you to acquaint him, if you please, in answer to the Letter from him which you enclos’d to me, that the Prizes he mentions have never been paid for, and that if they were the Money would not be paid to me, but to Mr de Chaumont, the Agent appointed by all the Captains of the Squadron, consequently he will do well not to draw upon me, for that I shall certainly protest his Bills.” This letter was evidently translated before being sent; the letterbook copy (incomplete, because a page is missing from the volume) is in French. Library of Congress.

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