Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jean-Sylvain Bailly, 23 September 1779

From Jean-Sylvain Bailly7

AL: American Philosophical Society

a chaillot ce jeudi 23 7bre. [1779]

Mr Bailly presente ses respects a Monsieur Franklin. Il envoie savoir s’il sera demain après midi chez lui, et s’il peut recevoir Mad la comtesse de Beauharnois qui desire infiniment de le voir.8 Mr Bailly se fait un grand plaisir d’accompagner Mad. de Beauharnois chez Mr Franklin et de lui renouveller l’assurance de sa respectueuse amitié.

Mr le cher de Cubieres,9 frere du marquis de Cubieres ecuier du Roy, a demandé aussi detre admis a rendre hommage a Mr Franklin et Mr Bailly a cru pouvoir l’assurer que sa visite ne deplairait pas. Mr. le cher de Cubieres est homme de lettres et connu par des ouvrages agréables en prose et en vers.

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin ministre / plenipotentiaire des etats unis de / lamerique / a passy

Notation: Bailly.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7This is the first extant letter from a man whom BF met as a colleague (in astronomy) at the Académie des sciences, and with whom he would collaborate, in 1784, in the investigation into Mesmer’s theories and practices. Appointed the first mayor of Paris at the beginning of the Revolution, Bailly (1736–93) perished during the Terror. DBF.

8Marie-Anne-Françoise Mouchard (1737–1813), better known as Fanny, married comte Claude de Beauharnais, whose niece Josephine was to become empress. Separated from her husband, she held, on rue Montmartre, a salon frequented by several of BF’s friends, and had just published Lettres de Stéphanie, an historical romance. DBF.

9Michel, chevalier de Cubières (1752–1820), was a prolific writer who had a knack for embracing every new regime France was to experience. He is credited with saving Fanny’s life during the Revolution. DBF.

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