Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from John Paul Jones, 26 January 1784

From John Paul Jones

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris Jany. 26th. 1784


I have the honor to transmit you herewith a peice written in America against the Cincinnati3 and a News Paper containing the Institution of that Society.—4 I pray you when you write on that Subject to Monsieur Gerard5 to present to him my respectful Compliments. I am affectionately Sir Your most obedient and most humble Servant6

J Paul Jones

His Excellincy B. Franklin Esqr. &c &c.

Notation: Paul Jones, Jany. 26. 1784.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Cassius [Aedanus Burke], Considerations on the Society or Order of Cincinnati; Lately Instituted By the Major-Generals, Brigadier-Generals, and Other Officers of the American Army. … The pamphlet was first published in Charleston in October, 1783, and was widely reprinted thereafter, galvanizing public opinion against the society: Minor Myers, Jr., Liberty without Anarchy: a History of the Society of the Cincinnati (Charlottesville, 1983), pp. 49–55. The Philadelphia reprint was advertised for sale on Nov. 4 in the Pa. Evening Post, in time for Jones to have purchased one before embarking on the General Washington the following week.

4The society’s institution, or charter, was adopted on May 13, 1783, and began circulating in the American press the following fall. Shortly before Jones’s departure it was reprinted in the Nov. 5 issue of the Freeman’s Journal (Philadelphia). See Myers, Liberty without Anarchy, pp. 24–7, 66n, and for the text of the institution, 258–65.

5Conrad-Alexandre Gérard, the former French minister to the United States, was one of the seven French honorary members chosen at the society’s founding meeting. GW’s letter to him, carried to France by L’Enfant, is in Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, XXVII, 210. We have not been able to discover why BF intended to write to him about the Cincinnati, nor have we found any record of that letter.

6Also on Jan. 26, Jones sent BF a brief, unsigned note accepting a dinner invitation for “Friday next,” Jan. 30. Dartmouth College Library.

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