Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from the Chevalier Hamilton, 28 December 1776

From the Chevalier Hamilton8

AL: American Philosophical Society

Dec 28. 1776.

The Chevalier Hamilton has the Honour to present his best Compliments to Dr. franklin on his Safe Arrivel at Paris.

The Chevr. has for this three months bin very ill, and his present Convalessence does not permit to stir out of doors, otherwaise he should with pleasure have personnely waited on Dr. Franklin and informe him of some news from Messrs. Brown & Whitford, and in return should have Desir’d the favour of Dr. F., to informe the Chevr. how the late Mis Grahme and her hosbend at Philadelphia do,9 and anything that Dr. franklin can think of in this part of the world the Chevalier hamilton begs he would Comand him, at Monsieur Brousse Conseilier a la Cour des Aide dans son hotel rue la Vererie. Begs the favour of an Answer.

Addressed: To / Dr. Benj Franklin / rue Jacob. faubourg St G / Paris

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8We have been tempted to guess that this was Sir William Hamilton, the British envoy to Naples (above, XX, 78 n), dictating to a French amanuensis who mishandled English. Sir William was on home leave at the time: Brian Fothergill, Sir William Hamilton, Envoy Extraordinary (London, [1969]), p. 147. But we have found no hint that he visited Paris that winter, was ill for three months, or knew the people to whom the writer refers. Another tempting guess has been Charles Hamilton of Painshill, with whom BF had had some contact years before (above, X, 251, 333); if he were the writer, his long friendship with Lord Holland might account for BF’s meeting Charles James Fox, Holland’s son. But that Hamilton was apparently not knighted, and the objections to Sir William apply equally to him. We are forced to assign the note to an unknown acquaintance of BF, perhaps a Frenchman of Jacobite descent, who has not appeared before and to the best of our knowledge does not reappear.

9For Thomas Brown and his partner in the wine business in Craven St., BF’s old friend Caleb Whitefoord, see above, X, 171–3; XX, 412. Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson was in America. Her husband had gone to England on business and was at the moment in Paris; see his notes above under Dec. 21 and 26.

Index Entries