Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Dumas, 19 February 1779

To Dumas

Copy: Library of Congress

Passy febry. 19. 1779

Dear Sir

Since mine of the 11th inst. I have receiv’d an Appointment from Congress to be their sole Minister Plenipotentiary at this Court, my former Colleagues having or being likely to have other Destinations.

I have had frequent conversations with your friend concerning a Loan in Holland.1 A fit of the Gout has interrupted them these two Days, but his Demands appearing to be beyond my Powers, I have not agreed to them; and I question whether we can agree. I fancy he has had some Information of the Purport of some imprudent Letter you know of, & that he thinks our Necessities greater than they are. I begin to think it best to be oblig’d to one generous friend, and to take the little Aids we want from France only.

The Marquis de la Fayette is arriv’d, cover’d with Laurels. He and his suite speak very handsomely of the Americans & of the present Condition of our Affairs. All our Letters from different Persons in different Bodies, the Congress, the Army, the Government of Separate States are full of his Praises. By his Bravery & good Conduct he appears to have gain’d the esteem & the Affection of that whole Continent.

I am with sincere Regard &c

M. Dumas

1Probably Jean de Neufville, although Dumas earlier warned against him (Nov. 24). Conceivably it could be de Neufville’s representative Stürler (for whom see Dumas’ letters of Jan. 5), who left for Paris “en bonne compagnie” on Feb. 4 (Dumas to Mme.——, Feb. 4, 1779, APS) and returned with de Neufville to the Netherlands in March (Dumas to BF, March 15, APS). On March 18 BF described to Dumas his meeting with de Neufville and in an amplifying letter of April 29 (both at the Library of Congress) said that Stürler had accompanied him, but that he, Franklin, “had no particular Conversation with him.” See also BF to de Neufville, below, Feb. 28.

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