Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Alexander, 24 April 1782

From William Alexander8

ALS: American Philosophical Society

st Germain 24 april 1782

My Dear Sir

I thank you for your Attention in returng my papers So early, and have no doubt but you have solid reasons for declining the Execution of the plan, without pretending even to Conjecture what they may be, It is obvious that a Commonwealth shoud be Governd by different Maxims from a Monarchy.

I am exceedingly obliged to you for Suggesting to me the most likely means of rendering it Successfull Elsewhere but I shall not think of trying them for the present. The Men you indicate woud I doubt not be ready enough to adopt it— But I am Satisfied that such a Confidence woud very Essentialy Affect the Success, for it may not be Improper to Inform you that one of Them viz the Dutch Man9 is as thorough a Jobber as is in the Alley.

Their Information might be taken without Impropriety in answering General questions that woud serve to decide The Rationality of the Enterprize, But the Man who relies upon others for forming his Judgments, when the facts are Ascertaind will be Continualy a dupe in Business to their Interrested policy— One of my Girls1 will deliver you this. Two of Them go to town to morrow. One of Them to pass a week at the Tuileries with Madme de La Marke2 a Lady whom it may be usefull for you or your Son to know—the other passes Some days wt Madme Helvetius— I am with the most sincere Attachment Dear Sir Your most obt hble ser

W: Alexander

Addressed: To His Excellency / Ben: Franklin Esqre / Passy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8In response to BF’s letter of April 22, above.

9Ferdinand Grand’s brother Georges, who resided in Amsterdam.

1The three daughters still living at home were Bethia, Christine, and Jane: XXIX, 534.

2There were two ladies known by this title. The one whom Mme du Deffand described as knowing everyone and “reigning” in Saint-Germain was Marie-Anne-Françoise de Noailles (1719–1793), a great-aunt of the marquise de Lafayette and the second wife and widow of Louis-Engelbert, comte de La Marck: Lewis, Walpole Correspondence, V, 337n; VI, 397–8; DBF, XIX, 472; Dictionnaire de la noblesse, XIII, 201–2; XIV, 989. On the comte’s death in 1773, his titles and property passed to his grandson (by his first wife) Auguste-Marie-Raymond de Ligne. The young comte de La Marck’s wife, Marie-Françoise-Augustine-Ursule Le Danois de Cernay (1757–1810), was a friend of the marquise de Lafayette, and both these women were sympathetic to the Alexanders’ case against Walpole. The younger comtesse is associated with the present letter in Price, France and the Chesapeake, II, 699, 1070n; see also DBF, XIX, 469–70, 472–3; Dictionnaire de la noblesse, XII, 113; Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, III, 9, 10n.

Bethia was probably the daughter who stayed with her; see our annotation of Rouaix to BF, May 12, and her own letter of June 9.

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