Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [George Washington], 11 June 1777

To [George Washington]

ALS (draft): Library of Congress

Paris, June 11. 1777.


I do every thing in my Power to discourage foreign Officers from going over to enter into our Service, knowing well how difficult it is to place them, to their Satisfaction and the public Utility, particularly as most who apply are unacquainted with our Language. The Person who will have the Honour of presenting this Letter to your Excellency, M. le Baron de Runderode de Thuillieres, has a Zeal for our Cause that will admit of no Discouragement:4 The Certificates he has produc’d to me, and will lay before you, show him to be an Officer of Experience, and Distinction: and I find he understands both the English and German Languages. He is also recommended to me by Persons of Worth as a Gentleman of excellent Character in other Respects: And therefore I take the Liberty of thus introducing him to your Excellency. I have acquainted him that I could promise him nothing, being unauthorised, nor give him any certain Expectations of being employed; but he nevertheless will hazard the Voyage and goes at his own Expence, which demonstrates a Good Will to us, that merits Regard. With the greatest Esteem and Respect I have the Honour to be Your Excelly.’s most obedient humble Servant


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Jean-François de Thuillières (1739–90) had been a captain in the Deux-Ponts regiment since 1769, and had a two-year leave to serve in America. He presumably expected to travel on his own, but in the event joined Brétigney’s party, with which he was later imprisoned in St. Augustine. By the time he was exchanged his leave was running out, and he returned to France. In 1780 he rejoined his old regiment, then serving under Rochambeau in Rhode Island. Bodinier; Lalande to d’Islé de la Mothe, March 13, 1778, Hist. Soc. of Pa.; Balch, French in America, II, 238.

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