. The Commissioners here are seeking the middle ground between Arthur Lee's position
in his letter of 8 Feb
. (above) and Benjamin Franklin's in the unsent letter to Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. of
9 Feb. Franklin, acceding to Williams' wishes, requested that Horneca, Fizeaux & Co.
charge the Commissioners' account for the goods mistakenly sent to the congress (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S.
, 3:517). Because JA
's Letterbook copy is a draft, he may well have devised this compromise to obtain
the signatures of both his colleagues. He may or may not have been successful, but
see Lee to Franklin and JA
of 10 Feb
., and note 1
Apparently the issue remained unsettled. In his reply of 20 Feb., Williams noted that
the solution proposed was impracticable because the goods had either been used up
at Nantes or had long since arrived in America, and again he proposed that the goods
be paid for by the Commissioners (PPAmP
: Franklin Papers). In his answer of 16 March, Franklin informed Williams that he
had shown his letter to JA
, “who found the proposition reasonable” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.
, 3:83–84). Thus on 20 April, Franklin wrote to Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. and, except
for “case No. 3,” ordered them to replace the goods “at the risque and expence of
the United States” (PU
: Franklin Papers).