From the Duc de Chaulnes4
AL: American Philosophical Society
Saturday evening [after February 28, 17775]
The Duke’s of chaulnes best compliments to Mister francklin; since every day of thise Weeck is convenient to him, after thursday to receive the Duke; he Shall take the liberty of asking a diner at Mister francklin according for his offer, for thursday, or fryday next, and prays him to chuse of both. The Duke is not so bold than to hope, to pass philosophicaly the after noon, but with a philosopher, and a very true one in every regard.
Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur francklin, membre / du congrès americain / A Pascy
4. BF had met the father in Paris in 1769, just before the old Duke died; see the note on BF to Ingenhousz above, Feb. 12. He may have met the son at that time, or later in London. Marie-Joseph d’Albert d’Ailly, duc de Picquigny as he styled himself before his father’s death, had lived in England for several years; he appears from time to time in Horace Walpole’s correspondence in 1764–65, usually for the scrapes into which his violent temper led him. But he had another side, as witness his election to the Royal Society in 1764, and he became a naturalist of some distinction. He apparently kept up his contacts in London, and BF must have been one of them. In the first days of the American’s mission to France he and the Duke were often together, and as early as Jan. 8 Lord Stormont referred to their great intimacy: Stevens, Facsimiles, XIV, no. 1410, pp. 1–2.
5. This note, we are inclined to guess from its addressing BF in Passy as a member of Congress rather than its agent, belongs to the early weeks there. The dinner about which the Duke is writing may well have led to another undated communication to BF (Chaulnes was averse to dating), but we cannot be sure; it is about his dealings with Benjamin Vaughan in London, and we have elected to discuss it later in that context. See the note on BF to Vaughan below, Sept. 18, 1777.