Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Francis Dana, 9 [i.e., 20] June 1783

From Francis Dana

Copy:5 Massachusetts Historical Society

St. Petersbourg June 9th. 1783. O.S.
[i.e., June 20, 1783]6


Having occasion to write to Mr: Grand on the 21st. of February last to enclose to him a bill of Exchange for 6666,, 13. Liv: T: drawn by Mr: Robert Morris upon him, in my favour in part of my salary, I acquainted him that the Credit he had given me here, wou’d be out on the next7 March, and that I shou’d stand in need of another in a short time; and referred him to you for particular information upon the subject. I have not yet been honoured with an answer to my Letter;8 nor has any further Credit been opened here for me. This omission will soon oblige me to have recourse to the Credit of £2500. which was given for another purpose.9 I hope however you will be pleased to give directions to Mr: Grand for another years Credit,1 as no bills have since come to hand, and I am totally destitute of money except that I break in upon the above particular Credit, the whole of which I expect soon to have occasion for, as the main difficulties, which were raised here, have been removed, and an audience will be granted to me the moment the Definitive Treaty shall be concluded.2

I have the honour to be with much respect and esteam, Sir, Your most obedient & most hble Servant

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr: Minister Plenipotentiary &c

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5In Dana’s own hand.

6As is our practice, we print this letter under its date in the Gregorian (New Style) calendar, which differed by 11 days from the Julian (Old Style) calendar used in Russia.

7This word was interlined to substitute for “15th.”, which Dana crossed out.

8Grand had received it, however. In a letter dated only Tuesday noon, which had to have been written on or before May 13 (for reasons explained below), Henry Grand informed WTF of its contents and proposed sending Morris’ bill of exchange back to Morris, if BF had no objections. Grand also urged BF to settle his own accounts, the sooner the better. Finally, he complained of a sore heel, which had confined him to bed for most of the month: APS. BF settled his account with Ferdinand Grand on May 16, 1783 (Account XVII, XXVI, 3), making Tuesday, May 13, the last possible date for Grand’s letter. May 13 is also the day JA wrote to the Dutch banking consortium to extend Dana credit: Mass. Hist. Soc., and see Adams Papers, XIV, 487n.

9It was to be used to pay Russian government officials: XXXVIII, 372–3. On March 24 JA answered a letter from Dana, telling him that £5,000 was too high a sum and adding that BF wondered “whether you had not been imposed upon, and told of a Custom, which never existed.” Dana responded on May 21/June 1 that he was absolutely certain of the custom: Adams Papers, XIV, 358; XV, 1.

1Ferdinand Grand made no more payments to Dana, probably because JA arranged credit through the Dutch consortium; see the annotation above.

2On July 27 Dana learned that Congress had refused his request for funds to pay Russian negotiators and had authorized his return to America, provided he was not engaged in negotiating a commercial treaty. He left St. Petersburg on Sept. 4 without having had an audience with the empress: Dana to Livingston, July 16/27 (Giunta, Emerging Nation, I, 900–1); Adams Papers, XV, 179–82; W. P. Cresson, Francis Dana: a Puritan Diplomat at the Court of Catherine the Great (New York and Toronto, 1930), pp. 303, 317.

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