Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Jay, 31 December 1781

From John Jay

AL (draft): Columbia University Library; copies: Columbia University Library, National Archives, Huntington Library

Madrid 31 Decr. 1781

My dear Sir

I learn from Marqs. DYranda that my Letter to You of the 21 Ult. has reached You.5 The Want of a good Opportunity has for some time past prevented my writing to You so particularly as I could have wished.

Things remain here exactly in Statu quo, except that your Aid daily becomes more necessary, and will soon be indispensable.6

These are matters that require no Explanation.

I have recd. two Letters dated the 26 & 28 Novr. from Mr. Adams,7 on the Subject of certain Instructions passed the 16 Augt.,8 which he had lately recieved, and of which I was ignorant ’till the arrival of these Letters. I think them wise.

A courier from France arrived here two Days ago. By his Return I hope to write you particularly—

Mrs. Jay joins me in presenting the Compliments of the Season to you and your grandson

To Dr. Franklin 31 Decr. 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Jay here drafted but deleted, “The last I have had the Pleasure of recieving from You is dated the 22d. Ult.” We have no record of BF writing Jay on Nov. 22, but on that date WTF reported details of Yorktown to Jay and JA (above).

6A week earlier Jay had received a loan of more than $50,000 from the Spanish government, which he does not mention, but most of it went to repay the Marquis d’Yranda for money he had advanced: Morris, Jay: Peace, p. 130.

On Dec. 31, Yranda wrote Ferdinand Grand that Jay had just told him that he had not received any letters from BF, from whom he needed not only advice but also financial help. Jay still owed Yranda 30,000 piastres from the April loan arranged by Montmorin (XXXIV, 499–500, 510), even though he had received a loan from the Spanish government sufficient to repay the entire amount owed Yranda; this indicated that Jay had “needs.” A copy of this letter, in Grand’s hand, is among BF’s papers at the APS.

7Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, V, 10–11, 32–3.

8Giving JA authority to enter into a treaty of amity and commerce with the Netherlands; see JA to BF, Nov. 26.

Index Entries