Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to George Washington, 6 May 1781

To George Washington

L,4 AL (draft), and copy: Library of Congress

Passy, May. 6. 1781

Dear Sir,

The Bearer Mr. Grieve, goes to Virginia, with an Intention of settling there, where he has also some Business in which you are concern’d. I beg leave to present him to your Exlleny. as a Gentleman of Character, & who has long distinguished himself in England as a firm Friend to the Cause of America. I purpose writing to you fully by Col: Laurens, who will leave Paris in a few days.5

With great & Sincere Esteem, I am ever,

Endorsed: The Honble. Dr. Franklin 6th. May 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4In Mumford’s hand. The signature and end of the complimentary close have been cropped from this, the recipient’s copy.

5Before Laurens’ arrival in Paris BF had procured the promise from French Foreign Minister Vergennes of a gift of 6,000,000 l.t. in addition to a 4,000,000 loan already pledged by the French government: XXXIV, 72n, 426, 444–5. In April, Laurens, who had been sent to obtain supplies for the American army, convinced the French government also to guarantee a separate loan of 10,000,000 l.t. to be raised in the Netherlands: XXXIV, 517n. Considering his work almost finished, Laurens told Huntington on April 24 that he would shortly return to America on board a French frigate carrying 2,000,000 l.t. in specie and that another 1,000,000 l.t. would be sent on the frigate Indien (which had been renamed the South Carolina): Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, IV, 382–4. He then ordered his secretary, Maj. William Jackson, to Amsterdam to supervise the loading of supplies which he had agreed to purchase from the South Carolina’s commander, Commodore Alexander Gillon: XXXIV, 581n. The frigate would then take the specie, supplies, and Jackson to America.

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