From Benjamin Franklin Bache6
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Geneve 25 octobre 1779
My Dear grand Papa
I am very glad that you write to me very often I pray you too continu it I am very sorry because I have not put the date to my letres but I will put it to the fust letre I have recived your print and accept it Mr Marignac has bought me a dictionary7 I am very glad that you will send my some books inglith the scolars have leave ventuige [the advantage?] Jexlaine(?) selecte historie profaine and writ it ad phedre’s fables8 the exercises of mister Mercier.9 My dear grandpapa tell my cosin that I can not write to him but wen I will have some time I will write to him I have nothing to say to you for the present.
I am your afectionaite son.
B. F. B.
J’ai reçu Mon cher grand papa la lettre que vous m’aves envoyée de mon cher papa elle m’a fait grand plaisir et si vous souhaites que je lui ecrive je lui ecrirai Me Cramer De Long a beaucoup de bontés pour moi je vais y coucher le samedi au soir et je viens le lundi matin Mr et Me Marignac vous presentent bien leurs respects Mr Marignac m’a mené ches Me Artaud1 qui ma fait beaucoup de politesses et m’a invité pour diner jeudi prochain. Je ne saurois vous dire, Mon cher grand papa, quel plaisir m’a fait votre portrait! c’est une obligation de plus que j’ai à Mon cousin, à qui je fais mille amitiès.
Notation: B. f. B. Geneve 25. Octbre. 1779.
6. This letter, only the first half of which is in English, reflects the degree to which French dominates his syntax. We have deciphered what we could of his near-phonetic spellings.
7. The bill for BFB’s schooling dated Oct. 5, above, includes a “Dictionnaire Anglois en 2 Volumes.”
8. A popular work in schools; several 18th-century school editions of the Fables are listed in the catalogues of the British Museum and the Bibliothèque Nationale, and in Antoine-Alexandre Barbier, Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes (4 vols., Paris, 1872–79).
9. An earlier schooling bill (XXIX, 347–9) lists “Themes Mercier” among the books M. Marignac purchased for the newly enrolled BFB. The author of these books may be Nicolas Mercier, a 17th-century professor at the collège de Navarre whose Manuel des grammairiens became a classic for the teaching of Latin and was reprinted throughout the 18th century. He was also the author of Vocabulaire françois-latin, pour les thèmes de M. le professeur Mercier: Hoefer, ed., Nouvelle biographie générale (46 vols., Paris, 1855–66).
1. Born Agathe Silvestre and married to Jérémie Arthaud, a banker, she was the sister of Mme Ferdinand Grand. Lüthy, Banque protestante, II, 339. The Silvestre family was from Vevey, on the Lake of Geneva.