Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Benjamin Vaughan, 18 September 1777

To Benjamin Vaughan

AL: American Philosophical Society

Thursday, Sept. 18. 1777.

I shall be very happy to see my dear Friend if it may be without Inconvenience to him; and the sooner the happier.3 The Duke de Chaulnes, who was with me last Night, has ask’d me to dine with him on Sunday, when he expected you:4 But that is a long time for me to wait; And I cannot think of another Place where a Meeting with me would not occasion Speculation. Yes: There is les Bains de Poitevin a large white wooden Building upon a Boat in the River opposite to the Tuilleries.5 You may go there in a Hackney Coach; and you will find me there at Six in the Evening precisely. The People know me only by Sight as I go there often to bathe. Ask for an old Englishman with grey Hair. It is the Evening of this Thursday that I mean: But if you are otherwise engag’d, name your Hour of Tomorrow, and I will make it suit me. Yours most affectionately You may come there an Hour sooner as to take the Bath your self if agreable: I shall be there at 5.

Addressed: A Monsr / Monsieur Vaughan / Hotel des Bains de Bourbon / Ruë Richelieu / à Paris

Notations: Dr. Franklin. 1777 / Franklin 1777

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3In response to Vaughan’s request in the preceding letter.

4BF may well have introduced Vaughan to the Duke during the Englishman’s visit to Paris at the end of 1776; in any case the two developed a more than social relationship. At some point Chaulnes wrote BF an undated note (APS), perhaps following the dinner with him at Passy (above, XXIII, 408–9), to say that he had forgotten to ask a question: Vaughan had carried out some commission for him in London and sent the results to France by a Montaudoüin brother; the Duke inquired of Turgot who Montaudoüin was, learned that he was an acquaintance of BF, and wanted help in locating him. The only other scrap of evidence we have about the relationship is that Vaughan gave the Duke an inscribed copy of a pamphlet now in the John Carter Brown Library, A Letter to John Dunning, Esq. by Mr. Horne (London, 1778).

5Near the Pont Royal, the first floating baths in Paris; a M. Poitevin or Poithevin established them in 1761. Larousse, Dictionnaire universel under “Bains”; Hillairet, Dictionnaire des rues, I, 12.

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