Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jean-Hyacinthe Magellan, 20 June 1778

From Jean-Hyacinthe Magellan7

ALS: University of Pennsylvania Library

Paris this 20th. June 1778

My very dear and most respected friend

I cannot help writting these Lines as a heartly farewell, loaded with all faithfull wishes and deep concern for your wellfare and of every one who has the happiness of being personally engaged in your glorious Cause, that of your own mother country. I am extremely sorry, that my Little position in the world allows me but dry wishes to offer, and still more that the too early date of my age does not permit any personal service on my part towards so noble an undertaking. But I hope that I shall never see the time of saying, victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa Catoni8 and will return home to our once agreable, but now ungratefull Land, well pleased after observing the good prospect and favourable appearances on your side.

I have not yet received any Letter from you to your phil[osphic]al Friends, who are as anxious as possible to see them: but I hope you’ll not forget, if possible, to send them this evening.

Please to honour me with some place amongst your most sincere heartly friends, and ever depend on the truest regard and esteem my dear Sir of your most obedient devoted servant


My directions are at the Count d’Herouville’s9 rue du Fauxbourg St. Honoré no. 6 à paris and no. 12 Nevils court Fetter Lane London.

Please not to forget, that the President de Saron1 and all his family and relations are of the most sincere and honorable caracter. He is one of the most ingenious Philosophers I know, very good Mathematician, and very clearly headed man. I know him these many years: and every one who is acquainted with him, cannot fail of doing him this justice.

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsr. Benjamin Franklin / à Passy / pres de Paris

Notation: Magellan

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Or Magalhães, the Portuguese instrument-maker and scientist. He has appeared frequently in earlier volumes, most recently as Lebègue de Presle’s informant about the controversy then going on in the Royal Society over lightning rods: above, XXIV, 163 n, 325 n. Since 1771 he had been a correspondant of the Académie royale des sciences, and on June 17 had exhibited two crystals at one of its meetings: procès-verbaux, XCVII, fol. 196.

8“If the victor had the gods on his side, the vanquished had Cato.” Lucan, Pharsalia, I, 128.

9Hérouville de Claye, a writer on military matters and on mineralogy as well as a distinguished general, who according to Le Roy had been Marshal Saxe’s right arm: above, XXIII, 15.

1Jean-Baptiste-Gaspard Bochart de Saron, president of the Parliament of Paris, was a collector of astronomical instruments and himself a skilled astronomer: DBF under Bochart.

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