Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Philip Mazzei, 24 May 1781

From Philip Mazzei

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Florence, May 24th, 1781


I understood long time since that Your Excellency had recd. a letter for me from America,2 & had been so obliging as to tell Mr. Favi at Versailles,3 that you would take the trouble of sending it to him, in consequence of which he had given you his direction. Having heard nothing more of it as yet, I am apt to think that there must have been some misunderstanding, to clear which I hope you will excuse me for the liberty I take of addressing myself to you, as well as for the trouble I gave you with me preceding from Genoa the 19th. of August last by Mr. Celesia, whom I hope you found to be worth your acquaintance.4 Mr. Favi, who has succeeded his uncle Abbé Niccoli5 in the Tuscan Agency, lives a l’hotel de Mirabeau rue de Seine faub. St. Jermain, where I wish you would please to direct your commands for me, The honour of which I would receive with pleasure at any time, & do my best endeavours to execute them to your satisfaction. I would be extremely obliged to your Excellency for the favour of the last accounts of our american affairs, especially in the southern States; & I have the honour to be most respectfully, Sir, Your Excellency’s most Obedt. & most humble Servant

Philip Mazzei

His Excellency Dr. Ben. Franklin Minister Pleny: &c. at Passy

Notation: Write to Mazzei for a Vermicelli & Macaroni Maker.6

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Mazzei was waiting for his instructions to arrive from Virginia about the loan that the state had sent him to negotiate with the Court of Tuscany. The firm of Penet, D’Acosta frères & Cie. in Nantes had sent BF a packet to be forwarded to Mazzei, but the Italian thought BF was deliberately withholding it from him: XXXI, 247–9, 414–15; XXXIII, 147; Antonio Pace, Benjamin Franklin and Italy (Philadelphia, 1958), p. 108.

3Francesco Favi. He became the Grand Duke of Tuscany’s secretary of legation in September, 1780: XXXIII, 214–15n.

4Pietro Paolo Celesia carried Mazzei’s Aug. 19, 1780, letter: XXXIII, 213–14.

5XXIV, 84–5n.

6We find no record in BF’s papers of a macaroni machine, but Jefferson was also interested in such a device: Jefferson Papers, XIV, 540–1, 544; XV, 29, 324, 372.

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