Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from J. de Sparre, 10 February 1777: résumé

From J. de Sparre1

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

<Strasbourg, February 10, 1777, in French: I have had no answer to two letters to Mr. Deane2 in which I told him, without going into details, about my project for aiding the colonies, and offered to come to Paris to explain it to him. I repeat the same offer to you. I was in America in the French service during the last war, and after that in the Russian; I am now in none. Neither am I a French subject; I was born in Germany and raised in England. Do what you please with me so that I may distinguish myself in America, which I long to do.>

1He presumably belonged to a distinguished Swedish family that had intermarried with the French aristocracy; several members were officers in the Strasbourg garrison. Dictionnaire de la noblesse; Etat militaire de France . . . for 1777, pp. 279–80. This Sparre was pertinaceous as a letter-writer, although he never seems to have had an answer. He went on throughout the war pestering BF with a variety of offers, none of which as far as we know bore fruit. These letters, except as indicated, are all in the APS. They are of Feb. 21, 1777 (Hist. Soc. of Pa.), Feb. 28, 1777 (University of Pa. Library), May 3, 1777; Jan. 6, May 11, 30, 1778; Jan. 6, 1780; April 17, 1781; and March 1, 1783.

2Of Oct. 24 and 28, 1776; the first is in the Hist. Soc. of Pa. and the second in the University of Pa. Library.

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