Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Alexander Gillon, [25 May 1779]

From Alexander Gillon

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Hotel de Modene Tuesday 10 a Clock [May 25, 1779]


I much regret that I had not the pleasure of meeting your Excellency at Home on my first visit to you since my return from Holland.4 I was as unlucky Yesterday, being detain’d by unforeseen Events, so that I cou’d not wait on you till the Afternoon, missing you then also, I tho’t it best to come here in hopes of seeing you this day;—will your Excellency therefore be pleas’d to Admit my waiting on you,5 at any Hour or place you will please to name to the Bearer, that I may crave your advice, on what I wou’d wish to lay before His Excellency Mr. de Sartine. After dinner, he having favour’d me with that oppty, by Honouring me with an Invitation to dine with him to day, I crave your Excellencys Pardon for troubling you at this Period, but as I learn there are sundry safe opptys for America in a few days, the State of So. Carolina will expect I shou’d write them the particulars of my Conduct, & applications in France, which I can not do till I have His Excellency Monsr. de Sartine’s answer to the different requests I have made,6 you will therefore oblige me, & the State will I am sure thank you, if you will please to aid me in getting any assistance for them, or a reply this day. The Bearer waits you answer & I am with very much Esteem.—

Your Excellencys Most Obedt & most Hble Servt

A. Gillon

Addressed: His Excellency / Benjamin Franklin Esqre. / Minister Plenepotentiary / at the Court of / Versailles

Notation: A. Gillon May 25. 1779

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Gillon told the S.C. congressional delegates on June 15 that he had found a commercial house in Amsterdam to undertake a loan on his behalf: “Letters from Commodore Alexander Gillon in 1778 and 1779,” S.C. Geneal. and Hist. Mag., X (1909), 133.

5Gillon has here written and then crossed out “this Forenoon”.

6Gillon described for the delegates the result of his discussions with Sartine. The naval minister had earlier refused his request for three frigates (see Sartine to BF, May 4); Gillon now proposed with equal lack of success that the French provide him with a single frigate for which Gillon would give over the money he presently had, the remainder to be repaid within two years: “Letters from Commodore Alexander Gillon,” p. 133.

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