Two Notes to Franklin at the Hotel d’Hambourg [between December 30 and February 27, 1777]
ALS: American Philosophical Society
These brief communications, from men of some distinction, are undated, but have an address that provides a bracket of plausible dates. We know that Franklin was at the Hotel d’Entragues until December 29 and at the Hambourg by January 8; hence he moved at earliest on December 30. He arrived at Passy on or about Feb. 27.6These notes might have been written at any time between.7
I. From Michel Adanson8
ce jeudi à 9 h. du matin
Mr. Adanson a l’honneur de présenter ses respects très-humbles à Monsieur Franklin, en lui envoiant son adresse qu’il a oublié de lui laisser; et il le prie de vouloir bien la communiquer à Monsieur Daine avec l’assurance de son respect.
Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / à l’hôtel d’hambourg, / ruë Jacob
II. From John Greenwood1
Fryday morng. Hotel de la Providence Rue d’Orleans St Honoré.
Mr. Greenwood presents his respects to Dr. Franklin will do himself the pleasure of waiting on him on Sunday morning to know if he has any comands. Mr. G. leaves Paris on Sunday.
Addressed: Monsieur / Mons: Franklin / Hotel d’Hambourg / Rue Jacob. / F. St. Germaine.
6. The latest surviving letter written in Paris and addressed to him at the Entragues is Bertier’s above, Dec. 29, and the first to the Hambourg is Dalibard’s of Jan. 8; the change of hotels could have been at any time between those dates. BF’s move to Passy is discussed in our note on his agreement with Chaumont below, under Jan. 28. On March 2 he wrote Arthur Lee that he was returning almost daily to see Deane at the Hambourg, where he might still have been addressed; but the wording of these notes suggests to us that the writers knew he was living there.
7. We have omitted two other short notes to BF at the Hambourg, because they have no significance that we can discern; both are in the APS. The first is from ’an English Gentleman” (who we hoped against hope was Charles James Fox, but was not), asking for an interview. The second is from a Mr. Hooper: he is leaving for Orléans, and asks “Mr. Frankland” to forward an enclosure to America and send word of his whereabouts for his brother’s sake. An undated letter, signed “J. Hooper” and addressed to Passy, is also in the APS and belongs, we conjecture, to the period of this volume. He thanks BF for his assistance, announces that he is returning to America because he has property to attend to and is of no use to his country in Europe, and asks for a note to secure him passage. The only clue to his identity is the reference to his brother, who seems to have been known to BF. But two Hoopers qualify, Robert Lettis and William. The former had been associated with WF as a surveyor, and the latter had served with BF on the committee of secret correspondence. Both had brothers, Jacob in one case and John in the other, about whom nothing seems to be known. PMHB, XXXVI, 64; above, XIX, 352 n;XXII, 638 n; Smith, Letters, I, 523.
8. This is the only extant communication between BF and the distinguished botanist (1727–1806). The two were fellow members of the Académie royale des sciences, but the only interest that we know they shared was in reformed spelling. Larousse, Dictionnaire universel.
1. BF had apparently known the American-born artist, who by this time was living in London, since 1761 (above, IX, 357); but this is the only extant communication between them. Greenwood was an art dealer as well as painter, and we assume that he was in Paris on business. The following April he was back again; see BF to Cushing below, May 1.