Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from the Baronne de Bourdic: Three Letters, [1783]

From the Baronne de Bourdic: Three Letters8

(I) AL: American Philosophical Society; (II) ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania; (III) AL: American Philosophical Society


a paris le 239 hotel de modene rue jacob f S germain [1783] Monsieur franklin aime a faire le bien: Cest Connû de tout le monde, Cest dapres Cella que Mde La Baronne de Bourdic ose lui demander une lettre de recommandation pour un de Ses Compatriotes du languedoc pour lequel elle noseroit reclamer Ses bontes Si Son honnetete ne lui etoit pas Connue;1 elle le Suplie donc de vouloir bien Se preter au desir quelle a de lobliger, elle lassure davance de toute Sa reconnaissance elle ira la lui temoigner et prendre Congè de lui avant de quitter Paris


paris thé fïfteen [1783]


The first wish I formed upon mŷ arrival at paris was to Sée a man who maŷ verŷ justlŷ bé Considered as the first character of the present age, when once I became acquainted with him, I endeavour’d to See him frequentlŷ even at the risk of becoming troublesome mŷ desire has been accomplished, but Still there remains an unsatisfied wish, and at the verŷ moment, I am about to quitt the citÿ he inhabits, and am perhaps upon the point of abandoning the hopes of ever Seeing him again, I would most willinglŷ Carrŷ awaŷ with me a part of himself, and join the reading of his works, to the grateful remembrance, I Shall ever retain of his obliging Behavior to me, he will therefore greatlŷ add to the obligations I alreadŷ owe him; if he will be so good as to let me know where I Can get them, and if theŷ are not to be had at paris; I flatter mŷself he will furnisch me with them, this is a favour he cannot refuse me in Consideration of the high idea I entertain of him and of the verŷ respectful Sentiments where-with I have the honor to be his most obedient and most humble Servant

La Baronne de Bourdic

Addressed: A Son excellence / Monseigner Le docteur / Franklin ministre plenipotentiare / des etats unis / A passÿ



Mde La Baronne de Bourdic ira demain a passi pour prendre Congè de Monsieur Franklin et le remercier de Ses honetetes elle lui demande la permission de lui presenter des dames qui ont le plus grand desir de faire Connaissance avec lui; dans le Cas qu’il ne fut pas a passi demain Samedi Mde de Bourdic desireroit le Savoir le matin.

Addressed: A Son excellence / Monsieur Le docteur / Franklin ministre / plenipotentiaire / A passi

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8For the baroness and her 1783 visit to Paris see XXXIX, 483–4, where we published the first of five undated letters. We publish here the next three, all written from Paris. We believe them to be in the proper sequence though we cannot ascribe even tentative dates to any but the first.

9The earliest possible month is July, as she is petitioning BF on behalf of a Frenchman who arrived in Philadelphia on June 11 and wrote to her from there asking this favor.

1The subject of this appeal was most likely Jean-Jacques Coirard, whose undated letter to the baronne de Bourdic is among BF’s papers and was probably enclosed with the present note. Coirard introduces himself as a silk manufacturer and merchant from Nîmes, who had gone to Philadelphia to sell his merchandise and possibly to settle there. Knowing no one, he asks the baronne to request of BF a letter of recommendation to city officials. He will be staying with the merchants Lacaze and Mallet (XXX, 88n; XXXVIII, 391) after having sailed to Philadelphia on the Grand d’Estaing. APS. That ship arrived in port on June 11, 1783. Another passenger, Jean Hadenbrock, carried letters from BF to RB and Jonathan Williams, Sr., which might have inspired Coirard’s request: XXXIX, 495. Coirard is listed in the Almanach des marchands for 1779, p. 351.

On the blank sides of Coirard’s letter sheet are mechanical drawings that we assume were made in BF’s office. They appear to be parts and views of spinning machines.

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