Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from the Chevalier de Laneuville, 26 December 1780

From the Chevalier de Laneuville7

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris ce 26 decembre 1780

D’un feu divin lorsqu’on te lit

tu pénétres nos ames;

du feu du ciel, par ton esprit

tu Scus nous préserver des flammes.

Mortel que chacun doit chérir

est il possible de moins faire

que de te garantir

de celui de la terre.

Je Suis avec un profond respect De Son Excéllence le tres humble et tres obéissant serviteur


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Laneuville’s verses may not have been entirely disinterested. On Dec. 31 he wrote his friend WTF about his desire to return to America to serve as a volunteer in the American army. He enclosed certificates from Washington and others about his former services, which BF had already read. He asked that BF forward his papers to Naval Minister Castries (among others) as soon as possible because the moments were precious. APS. On Jan. 5, BF wrote and signed a note in French on one of Laneuville’s memoirs that Laneuville had served in the U.S. army with “beaucoup de zèle et de distinction,” that he had authentic certificates to that effect, and that any favors granted him would be agreeable to Congress. A copy of this “apostille” is at the National Archives. Although Laneuville wrote WTF two days later (APS) to thank him and his grandfather for their letters, which he claimed had made “beaucoup de Sensation Sur l’esprit des Ministres,” his project fell through and he remained in France: Bodinier, Dictionnaire, p. 379.

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