Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr.: Two Letters, 13 August 1783

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.: Two Letters2

(I) and (II) ALS: American Philosophical Society


Nantes Augt. 13. 1783.

Dear & hond Sir.

I received your Favour by young Johonnott who unluckily arrived two days too late for the last Vessell to New England, we have now only one Opportunity & that is for Philadelphia and I will get him away with as little Expence as possible unless you direct otherwise; if he were to miss this Occasion it would be a long time before he could probably have another, and as is [his] Father is in Baltimore he may as well be there as any where else, though I believe it would be better for the Lad in a moral View if he was Fatherless.3

I am as ever most dutifully & affectionately Yours.

Jona Williams J

Addressed: A Son Excellence / Monsieur Franklin / en son Hotel / A Passy. / prés Paris

Notation: Jonath: Williams Nantes August 13. 1783.


Nantes Augt. 13. 1783.

Dear & hond Sir.

I have made a second application to obtain a Passage for master Johonnott at a smaller Rate but without Success, though I think the price extravagant, I think it is the only Opportunity we shall have a long Time, it may therefore be in the End cheaper to send him off at once, and Shall prepare accordingly— If you think otherwise please to let me know in Time.

I am as ever most dutifully & affectionately Yours

J Williams J

Addressed: A Son Excellence / Mr le Docteur Franklin / Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats- / Unis de l’Amerique, prés sa Majesté / trés chrétienne. / à Passy / prés Paris

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For the background to these letters see Gabriel Johonnot to BF, May 25. Samuel Cooper Johonnot came to Paris with BFB and remained with the Franklins at Passy for about three weeks before continuing his journey to Nantes: Claude-Anne Lopez, My Life With Benjamin Franklin (New Haven and London, 2000), pp. 51–2. BF’s letter to JW, mentioned at the beginning of (I), has not been located.

3Gabriel Johonnot was so delinquent in repaying JW a large debt that JW, galled by his silence and enraged by rumors of his extravagance and mendacity, had asked RB to help him press charges: JW to RB, April 13, Dec. 6, 1782, and July 7, 1783 (Yale University Library). JW was still pursuing this debt two years later. On March 7, 1785, BF certified the signature of a Nantes magistrate who authenticated ****Johonnot’s mortgage to JW dated March 13, 1782. Two copies, both signed by BF, are at the Hist. Soc. of Pa.

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