Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to ——— Ridou, 18 March 1779

To ——— Ridou5

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy Mar. 18 1779


I should be very happy in being possessed of a Remedy for that terrible Distemper a Dropsy; for I would communicate it immediately to all the world. But I have not, nor ever had, or pretended to have any such Knowledge. A Report of the kind has, I know not by what means, been inserted in the News Papers; but it was totally without Foundation.6 I regret therefore that I cannot enable you to afford that Relief to your Friend which your tender Regard for him prompts you to wish; and am with esteem for your Humanity

Sir y. m. ob. & h S.


M. Ridou

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Written in response to Ridou’s letter of March 12, in French, from the rue de Braque in Paris (APS). Ridou had just been informed that a friend was suffering from the dropsy and that the Journal de Bouillon had reported “que le Docteur francklin a guerri radicalement aux invalides deux hommes attaqués de cette maladie.” He had gone to Les Invalides, to various infirmaries, and had looked in the Journal for BF’s cure, all in vain. Would the Doctor consent to give him the remedy?

6The rumor of BF’s cure for dropsy had originated in England in 1777, and spread to France and the Netherlands. See XXV, 178–9n.

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