Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Sebastian Hartwig, 28 April 1778: résumé

From Sebastian Hartwig9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

<Gotha, April 28, 1778, in German: I have heard that you plan to return to America this summer, and make you a humble request: would you send me a bill of exchange for a hundred louis? You have a safe means of forwarding it by Privy Councilor Grimm, who is in Paris as ambassador and would send it to my Duke.1 My brother in America will then repay you or the United States. If you will not do this, will you tell Ambassador Grimm, to be forwarded through chief court mistress Buchwald, whether I may accompany you to America to see my beloved brother? I have served the ducal house for forty years, and am confident that my master would give me a year’s leave and would be glad to hear not only that you were sending the money but also that I might go with you. I am sixty-two and my brother sixty-five,2 and we have not seen each other for thirty-four years; if you bring us together he will love you tenfold more.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9He signs himself as musician at the ducal court. On May 9, 1783, he wrote again to make much the same request. He was the brother, we are convinced, of Johann Christoph Hartwig (1714–96), who was ordained in London as a Lutheran minister in 1745, came to America the next spring, and spent his life there as an itinerant preacher: above IV, 375 n. This letter supplies our only indication that he and BF were well acquainted.

1The Ambassador was the famous Count Friedrich Melchior von Grimm, principal author, with Diderot and others, of the Correspondance littéraire. The Duke of Sachsen-Gotha and Altenburg was Ernst Ludwig II, an amateur astronomer and a patron of the arts and sciences.

2Information kindly furnished us by the Director of the Forschungsbibliothek Gotha indicates that he was born in March, 1717, and was therefore 61; his brother, according to the dates given him in the DAB, was 63 or 64.

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