Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., [1 March] 1781

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

Nantes Feb 29. 1781. [i.e., March 1?]

Dear & hond sir

I wrote you some time since & sent under Cover a Letter to Mr Necker relative to the Freight Duty demanded on the Aurora but as I have not yet received any answer I take the Liberty of sending a Copy which I request you to send to Mr Necker, if the Original has not come to hand.7 The Payment of this Freight Duty will much affect this kind of Commerce, & as if once complied with it will be an established president I am unwilling to pay ’till I am obliged to do so, the more especialy as I think we ought to be exempt from it by the Terms of the Treaty, for we are by that to be treated as the most favoured Nation, and I am told by the Director of the Ferme here, that Spain never pays it.—

I am obliged to you for the trouble you have taken about my Man.8 I have got him again but am obliged to give Bond to send him away in 6 months: The Conduct of the procureur du Roi de l’amirauté in this Business, has been a compound of weakness, ill humour & exultation low enough to disgrace the most contemptible Pettifogger.—

I am with great Respect ever most dutifully & affectionately Yours

Jona Williams J

Notation: J Williams Feby 29. 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7BF had forwarded it to Necker on Feb. 13; see our annotation to JW’s letter of Feb. 4. The answer came back in the form of a letter from Castries to BF, now missing, which WTF had already forwarded to JW under cover of a note dated Feb. 24 (Library of Congress).

8Mark Anthony, the freed slave whom JW had employed as a servant in France. He was imprisoned on Feb. 9; see JW’s letter of that date, and subsequent correspondence.

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