Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to Madame Brillon, [December 1783?]

To Madame Brillon7

ALS (draft): American Philosophical Society

[December, 1783?]

Je vous envoye incluses, les petites Pieces8 que vous, ma très chere Amie, m’a fait l’honneur de me demander. Celle sur le Jeu des Echecs, doit etre dedieé à vous, la plus belle conseil qu’elle contient, etant copié de votre maniere genereuse & magnanime de jouer, que j’ai si souvent experiencé.

Mon petit Fils a été voir votre Maison. Je suis bien sensible de votre bonté en m’offrant la Preference, mais il le trouve trop magnifique pour nous.—

Avec infiniment d’Estime & d’Affection, je suis, toujours a vous.9

B F.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7After Mme Brillon moved from Passy to Paris in the fall, she did not visit BF or write to him until Feb. 15, 1784. In her letter of that date, below, she justified her silence by pointing out that WTF had come to see her several times and brought news of BF. The present letter must have followed one of these visits. WTF probably relayed Mme Brillon’s request for “les petites Pieces” and her offer for BF and his household to move into her residence—an offer that she may have extended after hearing of BF’s painful bladder stone, which by early December made it impossible for him to travel.

We publish the draft as BF wrote it, replete with grammatical errors. In a note below, we print WTF’s corrected version.

8An allusion to his bagatelles, which Moritz Meyer, the compositor BF engaged in December, may have started to print. In addition to “La Morale des echecs” (mentioned in the next sentence), BF probably enclosed “La Belle et la Mauvaise Jambe” (XXXIV, 41–6). These were the two bagatelles he mentioned by name in his letter to Mme Brillon of April 8, 1784, as having already been sent to her (APS). No Passy imprint of “The Morals of Chess” has been found, in either English or French: XXIX, 751.

9BF gave this draft to WTF, who corrected the French of the first paragraph and, after reading the second two paragraphs, crossed them out and rewrote them entirely. His hastily rewritten version (with its own mistakes) is as follows: “J’envoye cy inclus, les petites Pieces que ma très chere Amie m’a fait l’honneur de me demander. Celle sur le Jeu des Echecs, doit lui etre dedieé, le plus beau conseil qu’elle contient, etant copié d’après sa maniere genereuse & magnanime de jouer, que j’ai si souvent eprouvée.

“Mon petit fils a été voir l’Hotel que vous avez bien voulu me proposer, Mais il le trouve trop magnifique pour des simpples Republicains. Agréez je vous prie mes sinceres Rémerciements pour votre Offre obligeante. Je suis desolé qu’il ne puisse me convenir puisque céla m’auroit approché de vous, très excellente Femme, que j’aime, estime, & respecte de fond de mon Cœur.”

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