Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Francis Dana, 7 July 1781

From Francis Dana

Copy: Massachusetts Historical Society

Amsterdam July 7th. 1781


In my letter of the 1st. of May1 I requested your Excellency, (in pursuance of the Resolution of Congress) to give me a Credit of Fifteen Hundred pounds sterlg: upon some house here, and proposed Messrs: Fezeau & Grand’s house as I supposed that house wou’d be most agreable to you. You procured me a Credit at Petersbourg for that sum of Mr: Grand at Paris; but in your letter of the 11th. of May in answer to mine, you say, “On second thoughts, if you shou’d have occasion for a part of the Money in Holland, you can draw on me for the sum you want, and I will honour your bills; in which case you will receive so much less on the Petersbourg Credit”—I have accordingly on the 22d. of May taken up Three hundred pounds sterlg: of Messrs: Fezeau & Grand whom I made acquainted with your last proposal: but being detained here much longer than I then expected, I have this day applied for One hundred pounds more, and have been exceedingly mortified by the refusal of Mr: Fezeau, who alledged in excuse, that you had not yet answered their letter2 acquainting you of their first advance, and as that had not been approved of they cou’d not make another. That besides, you had given orders to them to make no payments on your Account till further order—3 I shall set off for my Northern Rout in a few Minutes,4 and finding I may want the last mentioned sum, I have spoken to Messrs: De Neufville & Son for it, and shall draw upon you to that amount in their favour.5 I shall be careful not to take up money faster than it shall become due to me, and shall make use of the Credit on Petersbourg accordingly— I am in great haste, & must therefore close this without adding further. I am, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant—

His Excellency Benja: Franklin Esqr; Minister Plenipotentiary &c—

Dr: Franklin

1Missing. Another letter of that date from Dana is printed above. See BF’s response to the missing letter on May 11.

2Not located.

3Above, June 28, although that letter did not prohibit the firm from making advances on its own funds.

4Dana and his party, including the young John Quincy Adams, reached Utrecht that evening. They arrived in St. Petersburg on Aug. 27. For Dana and Adams’s accounts of the journey see W.P. Cresson, Francis Dana: a Puritan Diplomat at the Court of Catherine the Great (New York and Toronto, 1930), pp. 157–66 and Taylor, J.Q. Adams Diary, I, 89–101.

5On Aug. 15 Ferdinand Grand honored the draft, paying 2,258 l.t., 16 s., 6 d., a somewhat low exchange rate unless he was deducting a fee: Account XXVIII (XXXII, 4).

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