From the Comte d’Estaing3
L:4 American Philosophical Society
[After December 21, 1776, and before February 27, 17775]
Mr. le Comte destaing est venut pour avoire l’honneur de voire Mr. franklin et luy demandere sy y pouras avoire un Momant deudiance [d’audience] demain sur les 9 h. edemie 10 h. du matin.
Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur franklin Docteur, ancien membre / Du Congrés Général Des états unis de / L’amerique, en son hotel / A Paris.
3. Charles-Henri, comte d’Estaing (1729–94), had made his name as a soldier in India and was soon to become more famous as an admiral. When Arthur Lee and Lord Shelburne came from London together soon after Deane’s arrival in Paris, William Carmichael testified in 1779, the French court feared that Shelburne would learn its secrets through Lee; d’Estaing thereupon warned Deane to remember that the Parliamentary opposition was intent on coming to power, not on serving the American cause: Deane Papers, III, 441–2. At some time before news of American independence reached France, d’Estaing translated a memorandum from Carmichael to Vergennes: Stevens, Facsimiles, VII, no. 647. These activities suggest that the Count was an emissary between Versailles and the Americans, and help to explain his desire to get in touch with BF.
4. It is not in d’Estaing’s hand; the freakish spelling suggests that he had a servant write it.
5. While BF, that is, was staying at one of his hotels in Paris before the move to Passy. We have no other ground for dating the note.