Papers of John Adams, volume 10

From Thomas Digges

From Bartholomé Wild

294 image From Benjamin Franklin, 20 October 1780 Franklin, Benjamin JA


From Benjamin Franklin, 20 October 1780 Franklin, Benjamin Adams, John
From Benjamin Franklin
Sir Passy 20 Oct. 1780

Understanding that in Case of Mr. Laurens's Absence, you are charged with the Affair of procuring a Loan in Holland, I think it Right to acquaint you, that by a Letter from Mr. Jay of the 12th. Instant, from Madrid, we are informed that the King of Spain has been so good as to offer his Guarrantee for the Payment of the Interest and Principal of a Loan of Money for the Use of the United States.1 Mr. Grand thinks that no considerable Use can be made here of that Guarrantee, on Account of the considerable Loan Mr. Necker is about to make;2 but that possibly it may have weight in Holland. Orders will be sent to the Spanish Ambassador here, by the next Post respecting this Matter.

I regret much the taking of Mr. Laurens. His Son, I understand sailed a Fortnight after him, for France; but he has not yet arrived.3

The Ariel has been at Sea, but meeting with a terrible Storm which carried away all her Masts, has return'd into Port to refit.4

I have the honour to be with great Respect, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient & most humble Sert.

B Franklin

P.S. By a former Letter from Mr. Jay I find the Sum to be one hundred and fifty thousand Dollars, for which the King of Spain would be answerable payable in the Space of 3 Years.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Dr Franklin recd and ansd 24. Octr. 1780 Warranty of Spain for a Loan.”


Neither this letter from John Jay to Franklin nor that mentioned in the postscript has been found, but see Jay's letter of 16 Sept. to the president of Congress in which he conveyed the same information (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:59).


Raised in November, the loan totalled 36,000,000 (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence , p. 199).


John Laurens, appointed in December to raise a loan in France, did not sail from Boston until Feb. 1781 and reached Paris in mid-March ( JCC , 18:1141; Wallace, Life of Henry Laurens , p. 480).


For an account of John Paul Jones' ordeal in saving the Ariel, see Morison, John Paul Jones , p. 301–306.