La Rochefoucauld to Franklin and Silas Deane
AL: American Philosophical Society
[January 26?, 17779]
Le Duc de la Rochefoucauld has the honour to send to Dr. franklyn and to Mr. Deane this letter which he has received few minutes after the two Gentlemen have been out of his house, and to make to them his sincere compliments on the departure of the Amphitrite: he begs them be so good to send back to him the letter after reading it.
9. Our dating rests on one fact and one strong probability. The fact is that BF, presumably with Deane, attended a dinner party at the Duke’s on the 26th; see the postscript of the preceding letter. The Duke, just after his guests had left, received the letter that he is enclosing for them and learned from it that the Amphitrite had sailed. She put to sea early in the morning of the 24th, JW wrote the commissioners the next day; in that case a courier, leaving at once and riding post haste, could have reached Paris late on the 26th; and that is probably what happened. But it is only a probability, because Du Coudray wrote to Congress on the 26th (National Archives) that he had tried to board the ship on the 25th and had been stopped by the commissaire du port, who had delivered him the King’s order to rejoin his regiment. We believe that “25” was a slip of the pen, and that the episode occurred near dawn on the 24th. Du Coudray, we suspect, immediately sent La Rochefoucauld word of what had happened, in a letter that the Duke enclosed with this note. For the next piece of the story, as we conjecturally reconstruct it, see the headnote below, Feb. 3.