Benjamin Franklin Papers

To William Temple Franklin from the Abbé Thomas du Rouzeau [before 1 May 1780]

The Abbé Thomas du Rouzeau to William Temple Franklin

Printed invitation:3 American Philosophical Society

[before May 1, 1780]


T∴ C∴ F∴4

L∴ R∴ L∴ des Neuf Sœurs, Est convoquée pour le Lundy 1er. du 3e. mois de D∴ L∴ D∴ L∴ V∴ 5780.5 à 11 heures précises. Le très cher et très Illustre fPaul Jones y assistera.

Vous êtes priés d’y venir augmenter les douceurs de l’union fraternelle.

Il y aura Lectures, Banquet et Concert.

Je suis, par les N∴ C∴ D∴ F∴ M∴ V∴ T∴ H∴6 & affectionné Frere

L’ Ab. DU Rouzeau

Secrétaire D∴ L∴ R∴ L∴ Des Neuf Sœurs, rue de la Bucherie.

Si vous ne pouvez pas assister au Banquet, vous en donnerez avis au Secrétaire deux jours avant l’Assemblée. N’oubliez point de vous munir de vos ornemens.7

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur franklin fils / N∴ S∴ ./. A Passý.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3We assume that the invitation to this glamorous induction feast, held halfway through BF’s Vénéralat, was extended to the grandfather as well as the grandson. Of the fifty-odd masonic convocations preserved at the APS (their dates go from April 9, 1779, through July 4, 1785), eleven are addressed to BF and another eleven to WTF for the same date. Of the remaining twenty-six, all for different dates, fourteen are addressed to BF and eleven to WTF.

Paul Jones, as the French called him, was the hero of the day. He had been received at Court and acclaimed wherever he appeared, especially at the Opera. See Maurice Tourneux, ed., Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique par Grimm, Diderot … (16 vols., Paris, 1877–82), XII, 394.

An extensive account of the ceremony appears in Bachaumont’s Mémoires secrets. He relates that La Dixmerie’s encomium of Jones was brief and sober as befitted the tribute to a man of action, and remarks that “before serving Mars, Jones had courted Apollo,” i.e., written tender and graceful poetry. La Dixmerie extolled the American’s resourcefulness at the Battle off Flamborough Head, comparing him to a clever coquette: “On croit la prendre & l’on est pris.” XV, 225–6. Further, the Lodge commissioned Jean-Antoine Houdon to make a bust of Jones: Morison, Jones, pp. 277–8.

4Très chers frères.

5La Respectable Loge des Neuf Soeurs … De l’année de la Vérité 5780. The masonic year began on March 1.

6Par les noms connus des frères maçons votre très humble.

7BF received three other invitations for Masonic meetings in the months covered by this volume. The first, from Rouzeau, [before May 29] announces a banquet to be held on May 29, and to include a working session for the nomination of officers. In the second he sends notice [before June 3] of a gathering for June 3, at which time Edward Bancroft, to be presented by Jones, will be received. A third invitation [before June 26] marks the first appearance of the second secretary of the Neuf Soeurs, Louis d’Ussieux (1747–1805), homme de lettres, agronomist, and an editor of the Journal de Paris (Larousse). An assembly to be held on June 26 will include readings, music, a banquet, and the introduction of two new members, Professor Pierre-Jacques Bonhomme de Comeyras and Frère Louis-Joseph Landry de La Hautaye, avocats au Parlement. For d’Ussieux and these two members see Le Bihan, Francs-maçons parisiens. On invitations where a banquet is included members are requested to give two days notice if they cannot attend the banquet.

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