Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to the Marquise de Lafayette, [on or after 17 August 1781]

To the Marquise de Lafayette

L:3 American Philosophical Society

[on or after August 17, 1781]4

M. Franklin a l’honneur de presenter ses Respects a Me la Marquise de la Fayette & la prie de vouloir bien s’interesser auprès de M. D’Aguesseau pour l’Affaire dont cy joint est une Notte. Cette affaire regarde une Famille très interressante qui merite a tous egards la Protection de Me De la Fayette.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Or possibly L (draft); it is in WTF’s hand.

4Based on the enclosed “notte,” which is dated August 17 (although it also says it was written on a Saturday, which would make it the 18th). From the handwriting of the copy of it filed with the present letter at the APS we know it is from William Alexander, who had interested the marquise de Lafayette in his legal difficulties. It is directed to Jean-Baptiste Paulin d’Aguesseau de Fresnes (1701–1784), a conseiller of the Council of Commerce. The Council was about to rule on the legitimacy of the mortgages by which William and Alexander John Alexander had secured their property on the French-held island of Grenada. The Court of Session in the Alexander brothers’ native Scotland recently had recognized the legitimacy of the mortgages: XXIII, 569; XXIV, 199–200; XXIX, 689n; Price, France and the Chesapeake, II, 698–9; Michel Antoine, comp., Le Gouvernement et l’administration sous Louis XV: Dictionnaire biographique (Paris, 1978), p. 3. The note said that the procureur général (presumably M. de Menc, i.e., Paul-Pierre-Joseph de Menc for whom see the Almanach Royal for 1781, p. 218 and Antoine, Dictionnaire biographique, p. 184) had given his conclusions two weeks earlier and that the rapporteur M. de Colonia (i.e., Pierre-Joseph Colonia, for whom see the Almanach Royal for 1781, p. 218; Price, France and the Chesapeake, II, 699; Antoine, Dictionnaire biographique, p. 73) had given assurances it would be presented on Tuesday or Wednesday. Aguesseau is requested to “donnér un Bureau des Comptes en Banque La semaine prochaine pour faire jugér cette Affaire avant les vacances.” His attention is also directed to a now-missing résumé of the affair.

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