Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from La Rochefoucauld, [29 January? 1778]

From La Rochefoucauld

AL: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Jeudi matin [January 29?,6 1778]

Le Duc de la Rochefoucauld est chargé par Madame sa mere de demander à Monsieur franklyn cinq ou six Exemplaires de la Lettre du Banquier hollandois,7 qui fut lue Lundi dernier à l’hotel de la Rochefoucauld; si Monsieur franklyn n’étoit pas engagé Lundi prochain, et qu’il voulût venir y diner, on auroit grand plaisir à l’y recevoir, et on le prieroit de vouloir bien proposer à Monsieur Deane, et à Monsieur son petit fils d’y venir aussi. S’il y avoit quelque nouvelle d’Amérique, le Duc de la Rochefoucauld espere que Monsieur franklyn voudroit bien les lui mander.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6This is the first of four notes between the two—denoted for convenience A, B, C, and D—that can be assumed to be a sequence; each elicited the one that follows. Dating them involves working backward from D, which alone is fully dated: Friday, Feb. 6. It answers C, dated Friday and, we are confident, written the same morning. A and B seem also to have been written on one day, a Thursday; but which Thursday? Scarcely the 5th, because the timing is wrong. BF sends with B a translation for the Duke to look over; he does so, makes lengthy corrections, and returns the MS with C, which we assume was written on the 6th. A one-day interval between B and C is therefore implausible, and the nearest likely Thursday for A and B is Jan. 29. The 22nd is also possible: B mentions a bit of American news that was known in Paris by then, though in garbled form. But the 29th, all things considered, seems to us the best guess.

7This was doubtless Dumas’ Lettre d’un négociant, a translation of BF’s essay on credit; see the note on Dumas to the commissioners above, Nov. 18.

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