HOLKER, JEAN. (1745–1822). French merchant, French consular agent. He was born in England and moved to France at an early age. Holker accompanied Gérard to America in 1778 with instructions to gather information on the English and American armies and on American attitudes toward their leaders. He also served as an agent for Le Ray de Chaumont. He presented himself to Congress on 16 June 1778 as "Royal Agent of France," but since he offered no credentials, Congress deferred; however, on 9 July it did order the Committee of Commerce to contract with him for provisions of blankets and shoes. On 23 July, Gérard announced to Congress his appointment as inspector general of French trade and manufactures, agent to the French navy in all American ports, and French consul for Philadelphia. Holker's appointment was more narrowly defined on 25 June 1780 as consul general for Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Holker grew wealthy but resigned early in 1781, when the French government prohibited further commercial enterprise by its representatives. After the war he returned to France, having been detained to untangle accounts with Robert Morris, his wartime partner.
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revised by Robert Rhodes Crout