Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Philip Mazzei, 5 September 1777

From Philip Mazzei

ALS and copy:4 American Philosophical Society

Colle, in the County of Albemarle in Virginia,
September 5th. 1777.

Most esteemed Sir,

I received the honour of your answer, by Mr. Jefferson, with the pamphlet, for which I return you my sincere thanks, as by enlightening my mind it greatly contributes to the happiness of my life. The seeds, called Ravizzoni by the Lombards, and cavolo rapa in the Tuscan language, may be very usefull to us in America when we shall have more leasure to attend to Agriculture. Not understanding the meaning of the Word Ravizzoni, I could not give a satisfactory answer until I had seen the plant. I was just going to give an account of it, when from a North Carolina Delegate I understood, that the Quakers had missed you about a fortnight sinse, and did not yet know what to think of you.5 I take the liberty to enclose a letter for my corrispondent at Leghorn, and intend to trouble you with several, as I have no other means of sending them with any degree of safety, and the contents of them being such, as I think conducive to promote the wellfare of our dear Country. Should you receive some without direction, I wish you will foreward them to the Grand-Duke of Tuscany through the Embassador of the Emperor, or Abbée Niccoli, the Grand-Duke’s agent, a learned gentleman, and friend of mine, who I am conscious would be extremely glad of the opportunity of being introduced to you.6 I have some thing in view, which I have great reason to expect would be very agreable to that Sovereign, and very beneficial to us in our present struggles; but to effect it, it would be necessary for me to go there with a clever fellow, a native of America, and that we should not, before we were sure of success, appear to have been sent on public business. I am with respect and veneration, Most esteemed Sir, your most Obedient and most Humble Servant

Philip Mazzei

Addressed: To / Dr. Franklin / Paris / by favour of Mr. Shore7

Notations: Mazzei Virginia / Sept. 5. 1777

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The copy heads his letter to BF below, Sept. 8.

5He had been about to send his account in response to BF’s letter of Dec. 27, 1775 (above, XXII, 308–10). That letter explains much of the contents of this one, but we have no explanation for the italicized clause.

6The connection had already been made; see the abbé’s letter above of May 26.

7See Jefferson to BF above, Aug. 13.

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