Benjamin Franklin Papers

Rose-Aimée Du Buc d’Enneville, the Comtesse de Choiseul-Meuse, and Jean-Baptiste Du Buc to William Temple Franklin, [c. 21 August 1783]

Rose-Aimée Du Buc d’Enneville, the Comtesse de Choiseul-Meuse, and Jean-Baptiste Du Buc4 to William Temple Franklin

Printed announcement: American Philosophical Society

[c. August 21, 1783]5


Madame D’enneville, Madame la Comtesse DE Choisëul, & M. DU Buc, Intendant Général des Colonies, sont venus pour avoir l’honneur de vous faire part du Mariage de M. DU Buc-Saint-Olympe,6 leur Cousin-Germain, avec Madame DE Longpré.7

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur franklin, Secretaire / de Légation americaine / a Passy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The Du Buc (Dubuc, Dubuq, Dubucq) family was one of the most powerful planter families in Martinique, and Jean-Baptiste Du Buc (b. 1717) was at this time its most prominent member. Known as “le Grand Dubuc” and widely praised for both intellect and character, he had been president of the island’s Chamber of Commerce before being sent to Paris as its representative in 1761. Choiseul soon appointed him premier commis de la Marine. He was the author of the exclusif mitigé, which relaxed the laws prohibiting trade between France’s colonies and other nations, and in 1784 and 1785 helped maintain a direct sugar trade with the United States. Mme d’Enneville was his sister-in-law, legally separated since 1754 from his brother Félix-André Du Buc d’Enneville (b. 1726). Their daughter, his niece Marie-Anne, twice widowed, became a countess by virtue of her third marriage in 1769 to the comte de Choiseul-Meuse. Mother and daughter may have met BF in June, 1777: XXIV, 148–9 (where we speculated that the daughter married the vicomte); XXVI, 28. See the DBF, under Dubuc (Les); Jean Tarrade, Le Commerce colonial de la France à la fin de l’Ancien Régime: L’évolution du régime de “l’Exclusif” de 1763 à 1789 (2 vols., Paris, 1972), I, 185, 190–211; Jacques Petitjean Roget, J’ai assassiné la Sultane Valide (Sarreguemines, 1990), p. 112.

5The date of the wedding is established by the bridegroom’s Aug. 20 letter thanking BF and WTF for agreeing to sign the marriage contract. As the ceremony was scheduled for 5 A.M. the next morning and he had much to do, he apologized for not bringing the contract in person: Saint-Olympe to WTF, Aug. 20, 1783, APS.

6Jean-Baptiste-César (Cézar) Du Buc, chevalier de Saint-Olympe (1756–1834), was sénéchal and lieutenant general of the admiralty of Grenada; in September, 1783, he was appointed procureur du roi of the admiralty at Guadeloupe: Tarrade, Commerce colonial, I, 222; Elisabeth Escalle and Mariel Gouyon Guillaume, Francs-Maçons des loges françaises “aux Amériques,” 1770–1850: Contribution à l’étude de la société créole … (Paris, 1993), p. 425. The chevalier had known WTF since at least the beginning of the year; on Jan. 14 he wrote to thank WTF for lending him a copy of Paine’s Letter Addressed to the Abbe Raynal … (APS). He and his wife remained on close terms with the Franklins and their circle for the duration of BF’s mission.

7The bride may have been related to the Le Vassor de La Touche Longpré family, Martinique planters related by marriage to the Du Bucs: Jacques Petitjean Roget, Le Gaoulé: la révolte de la Martinique en 1717 (Fort de France, 1966), pp. 105–6, 529.

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