Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to the Farmers General: Memorandum, [before 17 July 1783]

To the Farmers General: Memorandum8

Press copy of AD9 and transcript: University of Pennsylvania Library

[before July 17, 1783]

Copy of [Note given] to the Farmers General

Mr Robert Morris, Merchant, of Philadelphia, is Superintendant des Finances of the United States.

It belongs to him to make Provision for the [Payment of the Debt due from the States to the Farmers General].

Mr Morris is a Man of S[kill]1 in Business, great Activity, great Exactness, & Integrity, in whom the most perfect Confidence may be placed.

Mr Franklin therefore advises, that a Letter be written by Messrs. the Farmers General to Mr. Morris,* mentioning the Sum due & their Desire of being paid, and requesting that he would in part send them a Cargo of Tobacco, purchased by him for them, he being allow’d a Commission of [blank] per Cent. that they may judge from the Experiment whether it will be advantageous for them to give Orders for a Continuation of the Payment of the Debt in this Manner, [& in future] [illegible]

*They chose to [write it to Mr. Franklin]

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8At some time before July 17, the farmers general approached BF to request that the United States repay its debt. The present document is BF’s retained and annotated copy of the note he gave them, advising them to write to Robert Morris. They wrote instead to him (below, July 17). See also BF to Morris, July 27.

9The press copy is impossible to read in places where the ink has blurred or dissolved the tissue paper. The transcript was obviously made from this press copy—it does not even attempt a reading of the final phrase, which is all blurred—but it does render words and phrases that are missing now. We supply those readings in brackets.

1“Spirit” in the transcript, but we can see enough letters in the copy to suggest an alternate reading.

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