Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from [Philip?] Keay, 29 July 1779

From [Philip?] Keay

AL: American Philosophical Society

Paris Thursday 29 July. [1779]

Mr. Keay presents his Respects to Mr. Franklin, & returns many thanks for the History of the Welch Poetry:1 he should not have kept it so long, had he not flatter’d himself every day with the pleasure of accompanying Made. de Cheminot to wait upon Mr. Franklin; But she is still so weak as not to be able to bear the motion of the Carriage.2

Notation: Keay

1Possibly Evan Evans, Some Specimens of the Poetry of the Antient Welsh Bards: translated into English, with Explanatory Notes on the Historical Passages … (London, 1764).

2The name Charlotte de Cheminot was adopted by this former dancer—who had, in her youth, caught the eye of Louis XV—after she had become famous and wealthy thanks to her liaisons with a number of highly-placed men. At the time of BF’s stay in France, she was the mistress of a “riche seigneur anglais” (probably P. Keay) who kept her in luxury at a hôtel on the rue Neuve-des-Mathurins. There she entertained, among others, Diderot, Lalande, Rulhière, Raynal, Beaumarchais, and the chevalier d’Eon. F.F.C. [Félix Feuillet de Conches], Souvenirs de première jeunesse d’un curieux septuagénaire (Vichy, 1877), pp. 37–55, 59–61, 74–76. Alluding to BF in her salon, the author describes him as “le dissimulé Franklin dont le bon sens allait jusqu’au génie” (p. 55).

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