Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from [Jean L’Air de Lamotte], 12 December 1779

From [Jean L’Air de Lamotte]3

AL: American Philosophical Society

Paris ce 12e Xbre. 1779.

Mr. Dubourg a été très mal hier et aujourd’huy, il est un peu moins mal ce soir, mais il y a beaucoup a craindre. La tête est prise entierement, on desire des évacuations et on n’a point encore pu les obtenir.4

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Barbeu-Dubourg’s great-nephew, protégé, and recently his secretary: see Coder’s letter of Dec. 17. The young man would soon become BF’s secretary. For his genealogy see Paul Delaunay, Vieux médecins mayennais (Paris, 1904), p. 58n.

4BF’s close friend, whom he had known since 1768 (XV, 112–13), succumbed the following day to a fever he had contracted on Dec. 1. He was eulogized by Félix Vicq d’Azyr at the Société royale de médecine on Feb. 15, 1780, with BF in attendance: Histoire de la société royale de médecine for 1777 and 1778 (Paris, 1780), pp. 63–74; Bachaumont, Mémoires secrets, XV, 53. According to a biographical sketch (undated, Library of Congress, in the hand of L’Air de Lamotte), his friendship with BF gave him the greatest happiness of his life. Dubourg would often advise Lamotte: fréquentez le sage (referring to BF), and you will become wise yourself; he will take you in his arms and lift you over his head to draw out fire from the heavens. A detailed account of Dr. Barbeu-Dubourg’s life, works, and collaboration with BF is to be found in Delaunay, Vieux médecins mayennais, pp. 5–79.

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