Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 22 May 1782

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society; copy: Yale University Library

Nantes May. 22. 1782.

Dear & hond Sir

I have seen the Comissary5 relative to a ship.— There is some misunderstanding between Mr de Castries and you for the Minister gives no other directions to the Commissary than to give me his assistance, while it appears by your Letter6 that the whole Transaction is to be his and I am only to inform him of any Vessell I may know. This is what the Minister says. “Je suis informé, Monsieur, que M. Williams commissaire americain doit freter a Nantes pour le Service des Etats Unis un Nre de 600 Tonneaux Je vous prie de lui procurer toutes les facilités qui dependront de vous pour l’armement de ce Batiment, & pour accelerer son Expedition.”

I will make all enquiry I can & inform you but as you give me no Powers to engage & the Commissary will do nothing, I shall not be able to make any Conclusive Agreement ’till I have your further Orders, at present I do not know of any Vessell but my next shall carry you the success of my Enquiries.

I am as ever most dutifully & affectionately Yours

J Williams J

I beg you will decide something about the Amn Prisoners that have been so long living at my Expence.7 JWJ

Notation: Williams M. Jona. May 22. 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5The commissaire at Nantes was named Sourdeval.

6See BF’s letter of March 23.

7JW also had been asking WTF to remind BF about reimbursing the money JW was lending to escaped prisoners. JW had described these expenses in his letter to BF of March 26. On May 27, JW sent WTF a copy of that letter, adding that there were now several more prisoners receiving his aid. He also reported that there were no prospects of getting a merchant ship for at least two months: JW to WTF, May 16, 18, 27 (APS).

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