Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Daniel Roberdeau, 6 July 1778

To Daniel Roberdeau1

AL (draft): Library of Congress

Passy, near Paris, July 6, 1778

Dear Sir,

There is no Dissuading the young Gentlemen of this Country from going to seek Service in the Armies of America, when once they have taken that Fancy. I represent to them all, the Expence and Hazards of the Voyage, and the Uncertainty of their being employed when they arrive; but nothing avails; they will go, if it be only to serve as Volunteers. This is the Case of M. le Chevalier Dabzac, who purposes to have the Honour of delivering you this Line. He is recommended to me as a Gentleman of Character and good Accomplishments, and as his Zeal for our Cause gives him additional Merit, I beg Leave to recommend him to your Countenance, Protection and Counsels.2 With the greatest Esteem I have the honour to be, &c.

Mr. Roberdeau
Recommendation D’Abzac

1BF’s old acquaintance, the Pa. militia officer and member of Congress: XXIV, 11 n.

2BF indeed had been the object of a well-orchestrated campaign in favor of this tenth child of a prominent but impoverished branch of a Périgord family, the Abzac de la Douze. Describing the eighteen-year-old as tall and strong, the Abbé d’Aydie, his relative, wrote to the Chevalier de Beauteville who in turn asked an unnamed correspondent to obtain from BF a passport and “des lettres de recommandation un peu fortes.” There is no indication that the youth ever reached America. Pierre de Buisson, chevalier de Beauteville to ———, May 24, 1778 (University of Pa. Library); Abbé d’Aydie to chevalier de Beauteville [May, 1778] (APS). For the Abzac de la Douze see Dictionnaire de la noblesse, I, 55–6.

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