Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Benjamin Franklin Bache, [on or after 20 April 1779]

From Benjamin Franklin Bache1

ALS: Benjamin F. Bailar, Houston, Texas (1990)

[on or after April 20, 1779]

Mon cher bon papa

Je prens la liberté de vous écrire pour vous informer de ma santé aussi bien que de mon voyage ou nous avons essuyé quelques malheurs nous arrivames à Genéve lundi et j’ai été en pension le jour suivant ou je ferai mon possible pour bien travailler et pour vous satisfaire j’espère que je receverai la réponse le plutôt qu’il vous sera possible je suis bien faché de ne pas pouvoir vous ecrire davantage, car si je le pouvois, je le ferois. Je me porte assez bien j’espère que vous vous portez de même Mr Cramer vous fait ses compliments.2

Votre tres humble et tres obeissant fils

B. Franklin Bache

1This is BFB’s first letter back to his grandfather after the boy’s arrival in Geneva. It is written on the verso of one from Gabriel-Louis Galissard de Marignac dated April 20, below. BF’s letter of April 21 to John Quincy Adams, below, explains his reasons for sending the nine-year-old Benny to study abroad. The Cash Book (Account XVI; XXVI, 3) indicates that he gave BFB a going-away present of 12 l.t.

2Philibert Cramer of Geneva, a diplomat and brother of the publisher of Voltaire, accompanied the child on his way. BFB was enrolled at the Academy, founded by Calvin in 1559, his studies to be supervised by Marignac, a regent at the school. Cramer died the following August, and BFB stayed with his widow and their son Gabriel, his schoolmate and life-long friend. See Lopez and Herbert, The Private Franklin, pp. 221–2, 227–8, 230; Lucien Cramer, Une famille genevoise: les Cramer … (Geneva, 1952), passim. See also the bill for BFB’s schooling, printed under April 20, below.

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