Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Adams, 30 June 1781

To John Adams

ALS: Massachusetts Historical Society; AL (draft) and copy: Library of Congress

Passy, June 30. 1781


This is to request that you will accept no more Bills with an Expectation of my Paying them, till you have farther Advice from me: For I find that Mr. Laurens, who went away without informing me what he had done, has made so full a Disposition of the Six Millions granted at my Request before his Arrival,7 that unless the Specie he sent to Holland is stopt there, I shall not be in a Condition to pay them.8 I have the Honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

His Excelly. John Adams Esqr

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7I.e., the 6,000,000 l.t. grant discussed in BF to Washington, May 6.

8JA recently had been pondering an April 28 letter from John Laurens asking him to pay Jean de Neufville and Alexander Gillon for supplies to be embarked on the South Carolina and then to send the bills to BF for reimbursement. On June 18 he wrote the following notation on both his own copy and a copy now with BF’s papers: “This is a Copy of a Letter from Colo Laurens to me, which I have given to Major Jackson, to shew to his Excellency Dr Franklin. I should think it most adviseable for Major Jackson to lay the Accounts of the Indian [i.e., the South Carolina] before his Excellency, and pray him to authorize Major Jackson or Mr. De Neufville to draw upon him, for the amount, in case of my absence …” (Mass. Hist. Soc.; the copy at the APS has minor variations). JA had replied to Laurens on May 8 that he would not pay any bills unless Jackson approved in writing the supporting invoices and vouchers: Charles Francis Adams, ed., The Works of John Adams … (10 vols., Boston, 1850–56), VII, 415–16. See also XXXIV, 579–81.

Index Entries