Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Ingenhousz, 12 June 1782

From Ingenhousz

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Vienna in Austria Juin. 12th. 1782

Dear Sir

I hope you have recieved in du time my last dated april 24 togeather with the Copy of a book in the German language. Mr. le Begue has the original frensh Manuscript in hands, but does not goe on with the printing of it.

I take the liberty of begging the favour to peruse with attention the inclosed lettre to mr. Samuel wharton, (of which a duplicate is joined to it to go by a different vessel for securities sake) and after you and your son have perused it, to put a cover over each with a propre direction and to send them both, but in different vessels, to philadelphia.8 You would oblige me very much if you would be so good as to recommend, in the cover, my intrest to Mr. Wharton.9 The perusal of the inclosed will furnish you an idea of my situation and particular intrest in mr. Wharton’s honesty, of which I Should very much like to have your opinion for my own tranquillity. I am sur you can not approove of his behaviour towards me. I am not rich enough to bear such a great loss, if mr. Wharton should proove to be a dishonest man, Which I can not believe, tho mr. Coffyn seems still to suspect him to be soo. I hope you will let me know that this letter is recieved and the two inclosed forwarded to mr Wharton, and that allso the former I did send with the book has been allready forwarded to philadelphia. This intelligence will make me more quiet.

If you had som american newspapers, which you doe not want, I should be Glad to have them. I could even send them back by the way of Count Mercy,1 to whom you may give any lettre or paquet you Should have a mind to Send me.

The Emperour does not seem to give up all hopes of seing you here as ministre on the ensuing general Congress; but nobody wishes more sincerely for such meeting as I. Let me hear from you weather our hopes are grounded, and weather Lord Shelburn and mr. Fox will declare you a free people. I hope you are content with my country men.

Mr. Le Begue informes me he has seen a lettre you wrote to me but not finish’d. But, pray, send it to me as it is, if you should not have time to finish it.2 Let me have some thing to tell from you to my Imperial Master, who often askes me news about you. Lettres delivred to Count Mercy will surely Come to hand.

I expect the new English Ministers will soon become as haughty as the former if succes attends the national armies, as this caracter is that of the whole nation.

Give my best Compliments to your son, and doe not entirely forget your old and faithfull friend.

J. Ingen Housz

to his Excellency Mr. Benj. Franklin minister plenipot. from the Congress to the Frensh Court.

Endorsed: June 12. 1782

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8BF retained the duplicate, also dated June 12, which is filed with the present letter at the APS. Ingenhousz complains that he has heard nothing from Wharton about their two 1780 mercantile projects—one, a 40,000 l.t. consignment to be shared with Wharton, Bancroft, and Coffyn; the other, an 8,000 l.t. contribution to a venture that he shared with Wharton. Ingenhousz has learned from Coffyn that most of the goods arrived safely, and that Coffyn has received two payments from Wharton. The second of these is destined for Ingenhousz, but Coffyn was retaining part of it as payment for a loan he issued Wharton. Ingenhousz demands an explanation and wonders why Wharton has not remitted the full amount through BF, as they had agreed? Bancroft has not answered any of Ingenhousz’ inquiries. For background on these transactions see XXXIV, 124n, 163–4.

9BF’s cover letter, of which he sent a copy to Ingenhousz, is now missing: Ingenhousz to BF, Aug. 20, 1782 (APS).

1The comte de Mercy-Argenteau, imperial ambassador to France, had offered to convey BF’s letters to Ingenhousz: XXXV, 549.

2BF finished it on June 21. The entire letter, begun on Oct. 2, 1781, is published in XXXV, 544–51.

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