Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Jay, 30 April 1781

From John Jay

Copy: Library of Congress

Madrid 30. April 1781.

Dr. Sir,

I have this Day drawn upon Mr. Grand, in favour of the Marqs. D’Yranda for 487,320 liv. Tournois at ninety Days after Date, in order to enable me to pay Bills drawn upon me by Congress which will become due next month. I have by this Days post advised Mr. Grand of this Draft, & have desired him to carry it to your Account. The enclosed is a Copy of the Marquis Acct.5 You will perceive from it the Money I have actually recd. the rate of Exchange, & the Charges accompaning this Transaction. The Exchange is therein fixed at 14 l.t. 14. s. per Pistole.6 This [is] undubtedly the current Rate of Exchange, where the Money is paid in Specie, but it is 14£ 10.s. where the Money is paid in Paper, which is the Case in the present Instance, so that we lose four Sous on every Pistole— When I signed the Bill I presumed that this Difference would have been attended to. Mr. Carmichael on receiving the Money remarked it to the Marqs. but without Effect. As prudential Considerations, as well as the Tenor of your Letter directing the mode of drawing, rendered my acquiescence unavoidable, all I can do is to state this Matter to you, & enclose a Copy of the Account.

I have the honor to be with perfect Esteem and Regard, Your Exy’s. most obedient Servant.

(signed) John Jay.

His Excelly. Dr. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]


6The pistole or doblon was a gold coin worth about 15 percent less than a pound sterling: John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1660–1775: a Handbook (Chapel Hill, 1978), p. 11. The pound symbol in the next sentence should be an l.t.

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