Papers of John Adams, volume 11

To the President of Congress

From Henry Grand

From Benjamin Franklin, 6 August 1781 Franklin, Benjamin JA


From Benjamin Franklin, 6 August 1781 Franklin, Benjamin Adams, John
From Benjamin Franklin
Sir Passy, Augt. 6. 1781

I some time since gave Orders as you desired to Mr. Grand, to furnish you with a Credit in Holland for the Remainder of your Salary to November next. But I am now told that your Account having been mixt with Mr. Dana's, he finds it difficult to know the Sum due to you. Be pleased therefore to State your Account for two Years, giving Credit for the Sums you have receiv'd, that an Order may be made for the Ballance.

Upon this Occasion it is right to acquaint you that I do not think we can depend on receiving any more money here applicable to the Support of the Congress Ministers. What Aids are hereafter granted, will probably be transmitted by the Government directly to America. It will therefore be proper to inform Congress, that Care may be taken to furnish their Servants by Remittances from thence.1

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

RC (Adams Papers); notation: “I have only Time to transmit to Congress, this Copy, for their Consideration, it requires no Comments from their most obedient Servant J. Adams. Amsterdam Aug. 15. 1781.” This note, in JA's hand, also appears on a copy of Franklin's letter in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 355–356); endorsed: “from Docr Franklin to Mr Adams 6th Augt 1781.”


On 5 March 1782 the secretary for foreign affairs, Robert R. Livingston, wrote JA that he had submitted Franklin's letter to Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 5:219–222). There is no indication as to what specific action, if any, Congress took on 12 Nov. regarding Franklin's letter. But on 2 Jan. 1782, Congress ordered Livingston to provide it with the estimated expenses of its ministers and their secretaries. At the same time, it instructed the superintendent of finance to supply the ministers and secretaries with their salaries. Under the schedule submitted at that time, JA's salary was £2,500. His secretary, when one should be appointed, would receive £500 ( JCC , 22:1–2).