Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Harriott Heathcote, 3 July 1778

From Harriott Heathcote4

ALS: American Philosophical Society

St. Omer in Artois, July the 3d. 1778 Chez Monsr.
Symon rue St. Bertin

Amidst the multiplicty of bussines in which your Excellency is involv’d, many apoligies would be nessesary for troubleing you with this letter. But the man who could so nobely enter into the cause of Liberty and his Country must have a heart that will ever plead for involuntary errors. Upon that goodness alone it is that I must rely for takeing this liberty, for though unfortunately a stranger to Doctor Franklin’s person, I was Long before I left my native soil well acquainted with his merrit.

The very great civility my mother receive’d when at Philidelphia from your Late Lady has Lain us under obligations never to be forgot while memory Lasts, and the politeness of Miss Franklin at the same time merrits acknowledgements of the warmest gratitude. And though some years have elaps’d since, yet do wee much wissh to hear of her wellfare, and the onely method I had was this I have now taken which if it proves successful will realy be an addition to my happiness.

My mother with me begg Leave to present most respectful Compliments to you and your Amiable Daughter. I have the honor to be with great respect your Excellencys most obedent and very humble Servant

Harriott Heathcote

P.S. That peace and tranquility may once more be restor’d to my native Country are my sincere prayers.

Addressed: His Excellency the Ambassador / of the United States of America / Doctor Franklin / Panchauds Banquier5 / a Paris

Endorsed: Harriot Heathcote Thankful Enquiries

Notation: St. Anne en Artois. 3. juillet 1778.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Clearly the daughter of the Mrs. Heathcote who played whist and cribbage three times a week with Emma Thompson in St. Omer: above, XXIII, 292. As far as we know, the name meant nothing to BF; in 1777 he had sent his regards to Mrs. Heathcote because she was pro-American, but did not know her: ibid., p. 298. He must have been unaware that she and her daughter, presumably during his stay in England, had been received by his family in Philadelphia. We have failed to find any trace of that visit.

5Isaac and Jean-François Panchaud, prominent bankers and traders: Lüthy, Banque protestante, II, 426–7. Their father had been a London merchant, which may account for Harriott’s using them.

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