ALS: American Philosophical Society
[December 5?, 1777]
En attendant que j’aille vous faire mon sincere compliment sur vos succes, ce que je compte faire demain, Mon cher Maitre, voicy une Ode que je suis chargé de vous presenter, et ensuite l’auteur, qui est M. Courtney Melmoth Ami du Dr. Lettsom.1
Notation: Du Bourg sans datte
9. Identified by the hand as well as by the “cher Maitre.” We assume that he wrote immediately after hearing the news of Saratoga.
1. BF had introduced the young Lettsom to Dubourg in 1769: above, XVI, 187. The enclosed ode, “The Muse of America,” is among BF’s papers in the APS; it is long and strongly pro-American, and ends with a eulogy of BF. Its author, as witness his note below under Dec. 8, used the tribute to make contact with BF. Samuel Jackson Pratt (1749–1814), who employed the pseudonym of Courtney Melmoth, began his career as an Episcopal priest. Then, apparently because of a love affair, he abandoned the cloth for the stage. He later became in succession a fortuneteller and bookseller, and was now trying to make a living by his pen. DNB. A sketch of him that appeared years later, unreliable as it is, made him out to be an intriguer, always seeking contacts with the government, and a double agent who was employed simultaneously by BF and Stormont—a man, in short, “à qui tout est bon.” Pierre Manuel, La Police de Paris dévoilée (2 vols., Paris, [1791?]), II, 265–66.