Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Jay, 11 March 1781

From John Jay

ALS (draft): Columbia University Library; copy: Library of Congress

Madrid 11 March 1781

Dr Sir

You will find herewith enclosed an Extract of a sensible priv. Letter I recd. from the Secy of Congress on the Subject of their Finances—you will publish it or not as circumstances may render expedient.8

A Variety of Circumstances lead me to suspect that Negotiations for Peace are in agitation in pursuance of the Emperors proffered Mediation—you probably know more of the Matter than I do—if you should have heard Nothing I wish to know it—on the contrary if you shd have had such Intelligence on the subject as yr Situation gives you a Right to expect I shall be content without particulars which Prudence may forbid trusting to paper.

I shall very soon send you a concise State of american affairs here which it may perhaps be proper to communicate to Count D Vergennes.

God bless you my Dr Sir I am Your friend & servt

J. J

Doctr franklin

Notation: To Doct franklin 11 March 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Charles Thomson’s letter to Jay was written on Oct. 12, 1780, and received on Jan. 30, 1781: Henry P. Johnston, ed., The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay (4 vols., New York and London, 1890–93), II, 19. Among BF’s papers at the Library of Congress is the enclosed eight-page extract, which is a copy of the entire body of the letter except for the opening sentence and the concluding five sentences; slightly different versions of the entire letter are published in Smith, Letters, XVI, 191–7, and in “The Papers of Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress,” New-York Hist. Soc. Coll., XI (1878), 31–40. WTF published the concluding pages of the extract in Memoirs, I, 332–3, under the mistaken impression that the letter had been written to BF.

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