Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Paradise, 2 October 1780

From John Paradise

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Hotel de Dannemarc Ruë Jacob 2 Octr. 1780.

Dear Sir,

Since I shall have the honour (and I shall ever esteem it a great one) of seeing you at Passy to-morrow morning,8 I would not at this hour trouble you with a letter, if I were not extremely anxious to be honoured with your company at dinner, and consequently fearful lest you should be previously engaged on the day when I shall have the happiness of becoming a complete member of an American republick, a day, on which I shall through life reflect with pleasure, and which I therefore am desirous of celebrating with the sincerest joy.9 What higher pleasure, indeed, can be felt by a man, who may without vanity profess himself a lover of liberty and virtue, than to be admitted as an affectionate and zealous citizen by one of those illustrious states, who by the noblest exertions of unexampled virtue, have established their liberty on the surest basis! Mr. Searle and such American gentlemen as I have the honour of knowing at Paris, will favour me with their company at half an hour after two o’Clock; and, if dining in town be not contrary to any rule that you may have made, I cannot express how much I shall think myself honoured and flattered if the excellent Ambassadour of those States and his amiable grandson will partake a republican dinner with, dear Sir, Your much obliged and ever grateful servant

John Paradise

Notation: John Paradise. 2. Oct. 1780.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Paradise and his friend William Jones had been in Paris during the spring of 1779 but they returned to England in June of that year. They came back to Paris in September, 1780: XXIX, 596–7; Digges to BF, Sept. 18, above; Archibald B. Shepperson, John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell of London and Williamsburg (Richmond, Va., 1942), p. 149.

9BF and WTF dined at the “Hotel de Dannemarc” on Oct. 3, as we know from bills submitted by their servants (for which see our annotation to the Editorial Note on Accounts). That must have been the day on which Paradise signed an oath of allegiance to the U.S. That oath is missing, but several years later BF provided a certified copy of it: Certificate regarding John Paradise, Aug. 3, 1789, Library of Congress. The precise nature of his citizenship, however, was unclear. According to Thomas Jefferson, Paradise was a foreigner under American law; even though in spirit he was “zealously a citizen” the law required that the oath be taken before a magistrate in the United States: Jefferson Papers, X, 199.

On Oct. 8, BF issued a printed passport for Paradise and Jones. Signed by BF with blanks filled in by WTF, it recognized the two men as “Citoyens des dits Etats” and was valid for one month: Yale University Library. (This was the second passport that BF had granted to the two men; see XXIX, 596–7.)

Index Entries