Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to the Comtesse de Golowkin, 1 February 1781

To the Comtesse de Golowkin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Passy, Feb. 1. 1781

Chere Amie,

I have just received a Newspaper from Philadelphia, dated Decemr. 5.9 wherein there is a Paragraph that I know must give you Pleasure, as it shows that our Friend was then well. I therefore transcribe and send it to you, viz.

“Friday last arrived in this City the Chevalier de Chatelleux, Marechal de Camp, one of the Forty of the French Academy, a Gentleman no less conspicuous in the Republic of Letters than in the Profession of Arms.1 The General was attended by his Aids, the Baron de Montesquieu, Grandson of the great Montesquieu, Capt. Lynch & Col. Duplessis.”2

Please to return by the petit Poste the German Papers I sent you;3 and believe me with great Regard, Your most obedient & most humble Servant

B Franklin

My Grandson presents his Respects

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Actually, the issue of The Pennsylvania Gaz. and Weekly Advertiser was dated Dec. 6, 1780, and the paragraph BF quotes is under the dateline “Philadelphia, Dec. 6.”

1Chastellux’s command of English, valued at the conferences of the allied commanders, enabled him to display the literary and intellectual accomplishments for which he was known in France: DBF. See also his letter of Feb. 1.

2Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu (1749–1824), went back to France after the siege of Yorktown, but rejoined Rochambeau’s army in the fall of 1782 as mestre de camp en second of the Bourbonnais regiment. He returned to France with Chastellux and Rochambeau in early 1783: Bodinier, Dictionnaire; Rice and Brown, eds., Rochambeau’s Army, I, 318.

Isidore Lynch (1755–1838) began his military career with the Irish regiment of Clare in 1770. He was attached to the Dillon regiment in May, 1779, and took part in the battle of Grenada and the siege of Savannah as brigade major. He became aide-de-camp to Chastellux in 1780 and was made chevalier de St. Louis in 1781: Bodinier, Dictionnaire.

Thomas-Antoine Mauduit, chevalier du Plessis (XXIII, 154n), after distinguishing himself at Brandywine, Germantown, Redbank, and Monmouth, had gone back to France with Lafayette early in 1779, when he was promoted to captain. He returned to America with Rochambeau as premier aide-major de l’équipage d’artillerie: Bodinier, Dictionnaire; Rice and Brown, eds., Rochambeau’s Army, I, 49n.

For Chastellux’s account of his visit to Philadelphia see his Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782 (Howard C. Rice, Jr., ed. and trans., 2 vols., Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963), I, 129–82; and for his departure from Newport with his two aides see I, 65, 248–9n.

3See BF’s note to the comtesse, the immediately preceding document.

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