Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Lewis R. Morris, 5 June 1783

From Lewis R. Morris1

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

Office for foreign affairs June 5th. 1783


I had the Honor to remit by the Packet Washington the first Number of the enclosed Bills,2 with a particular State of your Account with the United States—3 Copies also went by the Ship Hope— These being such good Conveyances I am perswaded they will reach you safe—

I have the Honor to be Sir with great Respect and Esteem your most obedient humble servant

L R Morris

N.B. I have enclosed also a Bill of Exchange for your Grandson to the Amount of 1811 l.t. 5 s. Tournois

L. R. M

Hon’ble Mr. Franklin

Endorsed: Letters from Secry of Foreign Affairs

Notation: R. Livingston.

1Congress had just accepted Robert Livingston’s resignation as secretary for foreign affairs; his last official letter was written on June 5. (BF would not be informed until Boudinot wrote on June 16.) Because Congress had not been able to agree on a successor, Lewis Morris, one of the undersecretaries (XXXVIII, 299n), took charge; he left soon afterward, dissatisfied with his salary. Congress functioned without a foreign affairs office until March 2, 1784, when they elected Henry Remsen, Jr., as undersecretary. Two months later, upon learning that John Jay would soon return to America, they elected him secretary for foreign affairs without his knowledge: Samuel F. Bemis, ed., The American Secretaries of State and their Diplomacy (10 vols., New York, 1928; reprint, 1958), I, 182–3, 193; JCC, XXIV, 382; XXVI, 122, 355.

2The enclosures are missing, but they were undoubtedly bills of exchange to pay salaries, as in November, 1782 (XXXVIII, 299). He consulted with Robert Morris about “Bills for foreign Ministers” on May 20 and probably sent them on May 31, the day he inquired of Robert Morris when the General Washington was sailing: Morris Papers, VIII, 102, 136. On July 27, several weeks after Capt. Barney of the General Washington arrived in Paris, Grand advanced a quarter’s salary (14,583 l.t. 6 s. 8 d.) to BF: Account XXVII (XXXII, 4).

3Conceivably a May 12 account of bills of exchange drawn on BF (Morris Papers, VIII, 34–5).

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