Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to Queen Marie-Antoinette, [after 22 October 1781]

To Queen Marie-Antoinette

AL (draft): American Philosophical Society

[after October 22, 1781]1

Je suis heureux, Madame, de cette Occasion de presenter à vôtre Majesté, les Respects & les Affections de toute les Etats de l’Amerique septentrionale.

1The day the queen gave birth to the dauphin, Louis-Joseph-Xavier-François: Jour. de Paris, Oct. 23, 1781. The birth, after eleven years of marriage, was the occasion for great rejoicing: the ambassadors, including BF (see his letter to the Brillons, Oct. 30, below), called on the King the next day as did representatives from the court and the city of Paris for days afterward. Among the public celebrations was the gala inauguration on Oct. 27 of the new Opera (rebuilt at the Queen’s request after the June 8 fire) by the premiere of Piccini’s Adèle de Ponthieu, performed gratis before six thousand spectators and followed by the distribution of bread and wine, all in honor of the dauphin. The public ceremonies culminated on Jan. 21, 1782, when the King and Queen were fêted at the Hôtel de Ville with a masked ball and a fireworks display. See the King’s own account of the events in Paul and Pierrette Girault de Coursac, Louis XVI et Marie Antoinette, vie conjugale—vie politique (Paris, 1990), pp. 653–5. See also the Jour. politique ou Gazette des gazettes for the second half of November, 1781, pp. 29–39; Jour. de Paris for Oct. 28, 1781, and Jan. 19, 20, 23, and 24, 1782; Bachaumont, Mémoires, XVIII, 95–7, 100–9; Tourneux, Correspondance littéraire, XIII, 36; Hillairet, Rues de Paris, II, 462–3.

The dauphin, suffering from a form of rickets, died on June 4, 1789, shortly after the opening of the Estates General: Jeanne-Louise-Henriette Campan, Mémoires de Madame Campan, première femme de chambre de Marie-Antoinette, eds. Jean Chalon and Carlos de Angulo (Paris, 1988), pp. 206–7.

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