Benjamin Franklin Papers

——— Boilau and Gilles de Lavallée to the American Commissioners, 12[–14] February 1777

——— Boilau and Gilles de Lavallée to the American Commissioners1

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Mercredy ce 12 [–14] fevrier 1777

Mr. Boylau prie Messiers Dean franklin de faire remettre au porteur l’echantillon d’habit fusils sabre bonet &c, &c. qu’il a laissé chez eux. Il obligeront leurs tres humble Serviteur


14 fr. 1777

Donner au porteur si il vous plait toutte les choses apertenant a monseur Boileau.

De Lavallee

Addressed: A Messieurs / Messirs Dean & franklin / Equrs / a lhotel dHambourg / rue Jacob

Notation: Boilau, Paris 14 fevri. 77

1This was BF’s introduction, as far as we know, to a business that subsequently tried his patience, the procurement of uniforms. Lavallée was a textile manufacturer, who after the war emigrated to the United States with the encouragement of BF, Jefferson, and others to try to establish cloth manufacture there; the attempt failed, and he returned to Europe in disgust. Boyd, Jefferson Papers, VIII, 377–9. Boilau was doubtless his business associate; he submitted, presumably on this occasion, two detailed price lists of a uniform and accoutrements, including musket and saber. The lists are not in the same hand as this note, but his name appears at the foot of each, once as “Boilleau” and once as “Boilleaud.” With them in the APS are an account in an unknown hand of where cloth can be obtained and at what cost, and a report in Chaumont’s hand on his research into uniforms. The prices he gives are higher than Boilau’s, but what is more interesting is his recommendation of a cloak that will double as a blanket, a cover for a trench, or, in some way not explained, a screen to conceal manoeuvers from the enemy. Chaumont’s prices must have been satisfactory, for between July and October, 1777, he had 15,000 uniforms delivered to Bordeaux for the American army: Sabatier fils & Despres to BF, c. Aug. 29, 1783, APS.

Index Entries