From [Thadée-Humphrey?] O’Doüin4
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Versailles 7br. the 19th. 1777
You was so kind as to grant to my request your letters of reccommandation to the Honourable Congress for a young nobleman [?] who intended to go over to Philadelphia. The Circumstances having not allowed him to perform that Journey, his family refusing him (tho very rich) the necessary supplys, your good will towards both him and me became of no use to Either of us, and we never asked of you those letters of reccommandation. I hope you will be so good as to bestow them on another Gentleman, which I take the liberty to recommend you. He is the Bearer of this and is Called the Marquis of Luce a Gentleman of parts and Character, which desirous to fight your noble Cause is very willing to repair to Philadelphia at his own Costs and Charges and Expects nothing else but your letters of recommandation to the Honnourable Congress.5 I can assure you, Sir, that your recommandation will not be unworthily bestowed and that the Marquis de Luce will do honour to your protection and to my reccommandation to you. I am with hopes of your granting me that favour with Due Esteem and Regard Sir Your Most obedient humble Servant
Addressed: To / Benjamin franklin Esq. / In Paris.
4. The name is often spelled O’Dunne. Thadée-Humphrey (born 1742) may or may not have been the writer. He served in an Irish regiment of the French army, and was subsequently with d’Estaing at Savannah: Richard Hayes, Biographical Dictionary of Irishmen in France ... (Dublin, 1949), p. 78; W. S. Murphy, “The Irish Brigade of France at the Siege of Savannah, 1779,” Ga. Hist. Quarterly, XXXVIII (1954), 320; Bodinier, Dictionnaire under Humphrey. But we have no evidence that he had been in the French and Indian War or connected in any way with America, let alone with BF. This correspondent had been. He held land in Massachusetts and Georgia, married an American wife, and had been in the Franklins’ house while a prisoner of war in Philadelphia; see his letter below, Nov. 15, 1777. He apparently used that introduction to extract from BF a promise to recommend a young nobleman to Congress, and is here trying to transfer the promise to another. When the second candidate decided not to go, O’Doüin made a third attempt in his November letter.
5. The marquis de Luce-Seillans, a major of dragoons in the Polish service, wrote BF on Sept. 20 that he had intended to call but was ill; he wanted to transfer funds to America, and a note to him of the 23rd from Georges Grand assured him that he could. BF saw him and promised a recommendation. On the 24th the marquis wrote to ask for it and for help in getting some cash. Then his negotiations collapsed, and much later he explained why: BF offered him little hope of an equivalent rank in America but all possible assistance in settling there, where he might make a considerable fortune; he was well off, however, and after thinking over the offer decided to turn it down. To BF, Feb. 26, 1783; all these letters are in the APS.