Benjamin Franklin Papers

M. and Mme. Jean-Jacques de Lafreté to Franklin and William Temple Franklin, 14 April 1778

M. and Mme. Jean-Jacques de Lafreté5 to Franklin and William Temple Franklin

AL: American Philosophical Society

Paris le mardi 14 avril [1778]

Mr. et Mad. De Lafreté ont l’honneur de faire mille complimens à Messieurs Francklin; ils se flattent que ces Messieurs n’ont pas oublié l’engagement qu’ils ont pris, de venir diner avec eux jeudi prochain 16. de ce mois.6

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5He was a businessman and a former high official in the postal service; see J.F. Bosher, French Finances, 1770–1795 . . . (Cambridge, England, 1970), p. 329. He had commercial ties with Basmarein & Raimbaux, and invested 10,000 l.t. in one of their voyages to the U.S.; see the agreement in the Yale University Library, April 20, 1778, and Paul Butel, Les Négotiants bordelais: l’Europe et les îles au XVIIIe siècle (Paris, [1974]), p. 208. He was also involved in a similar venture of Veuve Lalanne & Fils; see his letter below, July 5. This is the earliest surviving letter in a considerable correspondence.

6The dinner guests included John Adams, who described the wide-ranging conversation: how few married couples one met in society; why the chevalier de la Rulhière (above, XXIII, 419) dared not publish his history of the Russian coup d’état in 1762 (BF promptly retired to another room to read the MS, and pronounced it superior to Sallust); the reputation of convent schools as breeding grounds for bad morals; and above all Voltaire’s status as “the Grand Monarch of Science and Literature.” Butterfield, John Adams Diary, IV, 61–2; see also pp. 119–20.

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