Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to the Académie Royale des Sciences, 16 November 1772

To the Académie Royale des Sciences3

Photograph of ALS: Académie des sciences, Paris

London, Nov. 16. 1772


A Place among your foreign Members is justly esteemed, by all Europe, the greatest Honour a Man can arrive at in the Republick of Letters: It was therefore with equal Surprize and Satisfaction that I learnt you had condescended to confer that Honour upon me. Be pleased to accept my grateful Acknowledgements, and believe me with the greatest Esteem and Respect, Gentlemen, Your most obliged and most humble Servant

B Franklin

Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3BF had already sent his thanks to de la Vrillière, the President of the Academy: above, Sept. 4. A roster of the membership was published in the Connoissance des temps, pour l’année commune 1774 … (Paris, 1772), 291–318; in BF’s copy he made notes by the names of the eleven members whom he knew. That copy is in the APS, but his marginalia have been mutilated by later trimming. Only one is of major interest: of Lamoignon de Malesherbes he wrote, “A particular Friend, president de la Cour des Aides, fort eloquent, actuellement exilé 1773.” The rest of the note appears to say that BF dined with some one at Malesherbes’ house, and conversed a good deal with him at Mme. Somebody’s in Compiègne in 1769; the last three words are clear. This substantiates our conjecture above (XVI, 207 n) that BF’s visit to France in 1769 first brought him into touch with the celebrated Frenchman.

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