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Franklin, William Temple (1760-1823) to Tench Coxe

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.04997 Author/Creator: Franklin, William Temple (1760-1823) Place Written: London, England Type: Manuscript letter Date: 15 June 1791 Pagination: 32 p. ; 23.2 x 19.6 cm.

Summary of Content: Most of the information on this record comes from a letter written by Julian P. Boyd, the editor of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, in 1969. Boyd's letter is in the file with the original document. The document is not signed, but Boyd identifies its creator as William Temple Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's grandson. Boyd claims it was sent to Tench Coxe who was serving as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. The letter is a summary of the report of the Lords of Trade to the Privy Council. This report was written mainly by Lord Hawkesbury on 28 January 1791. Having this document was a coup for the United States government, as they were in possession of it just as George Hammond, the first British minister to the U.S., received it as the basis for his diplomatic instructions. Asks him to communicate the findings with Alexander Hamilton (pg. 2). Coxe made copies of this document and sent it to Adams, Jefferson, and Knox. This copy appears to be in a secretarial hand, with no signature following the closing. The last page is a chart that appears to be summing up, a "Recapitulation," of the figures cited throughout the report. It lists the number of merchant vessels traveling between the U.S. and Britain, and the U.S. and the British West Indies before and after the Revolutionary War. The number of vessels and tonnage were vastly higher before the war than after it.

Background Information: William Temple Franklin accompanied his grandfather to France in late 1776 and worked as secretary to the American diplomatic mission during the American Revolution. A bon vivant, Temple received his highest ...public appointment as Secretary to the American delegation at the Treaty of Paris in 1782-1783, largely through the influence of his grandfather, but never again attained a significant post. After the elder Franklin died, Temple lived for a while with his father in England, and had an illegitimate daughter, Ellen. He then moved to France, where he won and lost a fortune in real-estate speculation.
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Full Transcript: [draft excerpt:]
In my letter of the 7th April I mentioned to you that the disposition in the people at the head of affairs here was in favor of a ...commercial treaty between this country and ours - and that a report of a committee had gone into the privy council to that effect the same has since been sent to the King...the gentleman who promised to lend me his...made some notes of the principal matter....from which I am enabled to give you the following report - which may perhaps prove interesting to your self and Mr. Hamilton to whom I request you will communicate it....
[31] I am sorry it is not in my power to send you a copy of the whole report which I should have done had they not been so suddenly an unexpectedly called in - what the reason of this was I cannot say - I am however informed that the disposition to treat with us on the principles laid down is not diminished But Mr Elliotts going out is laid a side - and a gentleman already in the Diplomatic line is talked of.
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People: Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823
Coxe, Tench, 1755-1824
Hammond, George, 1763-1853
Boyd, Julian P., 1903-1980
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Global History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGovernment and CivicsSpyingDiplomacyFinanceCommerceMerchants and TradeEconomicsMaritimeRevolutionary WarCaribbeanPresidentVice President

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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