Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from the Marquis de Lafayette, [13–14 February 1779]

From the Marquis de Lafayette

ALS: American Philosophical Society

[February 13–14, 1779]3

Dear Sir,

I hope my Letter will Reach your excellency soon enough as to prevent your going to versailles for our propos’d meeting— I will not yet wait on the king and his Majesty’s orders are to stay in paris without seeing a great Number of Acquaintances— I confess I can’t help much approving his wisdom on this Respect that Many people have already propagated thousand absurd discourses about the American Affairs which might hurt the interests of these his Allies as coming from My Mouth— I schall be very happy to Receive yr Excellency at your good friend’s Mde de Lafayette.4

With the highest Regard and affection I have the honor to be, Your excellency’s Most obedient humble servant


Addressed: to / his Excellency dr. Franklin’s / esq. at Passy

Endorsed: Marquis de la Fayette

Notation: Lafayette Marquis De.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3This letter probably was written on Feb. 13 or early the 14th, the day on which Lafayette told Vergennes he had cancelled his meeting at Versailles with BF: Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, II, 229. The young Frenchman had arrived in Versailles the night of Feb. 11/12 and on the 12th met with chief minister Maurepas, who ordered him not to leave the home of the marquise de Lafayette’s grandfather, the duc de Noailles. This confinement was not lifted until a week later, when Lafayette apologized to Louis XVI for having in 1777 disregarded the King’s orders against going to America. Louis Gottschalk, Lafayette and the Close of the American Revolution (Chicago, 1942), pp. 2, 4–6. Lafayette had been expected at Passy on the 13th: see Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 406.

4Lafayette told Vergennes he expected to see BF on the 15th and asked what conduct to hold: Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, II, 229. BF’s poor health and the Frenchman’s confinement apparently prevented a meeting until after the 21st: see Lafayette’s letter printed under that date.

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