George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Benjamin Franklin, 6 May 1784

To Benjamin Franklin

Philadelphia May 6th 1784.

Dear Sir,

Mr Tracy the bearer of this, is a Gentleman of Fortune from Massachusettsbay—on a visit to Europe.1

His political character, and character for benevolence & hospitality are too well established in this Country to need any other recommendation, notwithstanding I have taken the liberty of giving him this letter of introduction to you.2 With very great esteem and regard—I am—Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, PU: Benjamin Franklin Papers; LB, DLC:GW.

1Nathaniel Tracy (1751–1796) of Newburyport, Mass., made a large fortune in privateering and shipping during the Revolution and sustained great losses as well. In a letter dated 4 Aug. 1783 introducing Francesco, the count dal Verme (1758–1832), GW asked Tracy to advance the nobleman money if he should need it. Tracy in May 1784 was preparing to go to Europe for the purpose of settling the accounts of his company, Jackson, Tracy, & Tracy, with the Gardoqui firm in Portugal. On 5 July he sailed from Boston for London, with Thomas Jefferson as a passenger, in his own vessel, the Ceres. Tracy failed in his mission, and not long after his return to Massachusetts in 1785 he was bankrupt.

2GW also has in his letter book a letter of 5 May introducing Tracy to Lafayette: “Mr Tracy will hand you this letter—his character & worth you are not unacquainted with; yet, as he is about to undertake a Voyage to Europe, & proposes to make Paris a visit: I have taken the liberty of requesting you to give him an introduction into the circle of your acquaintance” (DLC:GW).

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