Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Temple Franklin, 15 October 1781

From William Temple Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Orleans 15. Oct 81. 10 at Night.

Dr & hond Sir,

I am got thus far on my Journey, much fatigued by the Vehicle in which we travelled; We set off from Paris at 12 the Night I left you, & have been, ’till an hour ago, on the Road to this Place.6 No stopping for Sleep, & no means of taking any in so Rough a Machine. It is the first, & I hope will be the last time, I shall ever climb into such a Thing.

I made, at the Croix de Bernes, what Enquiries I could, relative to Major Franks’s Fellow Traveller.7 The Postillon who drove him, was not there;— but another, inform’d me that the Gentleman was set down at an Hotel, in the Rue du Mail; he did not recollect what the Name of the Hotel was. But I imagine it will not be difficult to find him out, if diligent Enquiries are made.— I left with the Postillon, who gave me the above Information, Major Franks’s Name, & abode;8 & the Lad promised me he would endeavour to procure & carry him his Pistols in the Morg. [morning]— I assured him he would be recompens’d for his Trouble.

I shall continue my Journey in the Morg. by some means or other. The Boatmen are very extravagant in their Demands, The Publick boat not setting off ’till Wednesday.

Please to make my Excuses to Mr. & Miss Chaumont for my not taking leave of them. I knock’d several times at the Door, before I set off, but could not get Admittance. The Packets for Mrs. C. & Mrs. Foucault9 are with me & in good order.

With sincere Affection, I am Hond Sir, Your dutiful Grandson

W T Franklin.

Make my Compts to the Major. i. y. p.
Dr Franklin.

Addressed: Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / Ministre Plenipoe. des E. U. de l’Amerique / en son hotel / près Paris, à Passy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6WTF and his servant Bénard departed Passy on their trip to Chaumont around 10 p.m. the night before: WTF to Carmichael, Oct. 14, 1781 (Library of Congress). On Oct. 30 Bénard submitted a bill for the latter half of October which includes a journey lasting three days and a déjeuné. See our annotation to the Editorial Note on Franklin’s Accounts.

7Franks delivered Carmichael’s letter to WTF of Sept. 21 only an hour before the latter’s departure, according to the letter cited above. We do not know the identity of Franks’s fellow traveler to Paris.

8Franks stayed in WTF’s chambers during the latter’s absence: WTF to Carmichael, Oct. 14, 1781.

9Marie-Elisabeth (Elise) Le Ray de Chaumont (early or mid-1750s–1834), the oldest of the five Chaumont children, was married to Michel Foucault (d. 1821), a widower from a wealthy and recently ennobled merchant family: XXIV, 400n; XXV, 638–9n; Thomas J. Schaeper, France and America in the Revolutionary Era: the Life of Jacques-Donatien Leray de Chaumont 1725–1803 (Providence and Oxford, 1995), pp. 9, 28, 36–7, 105, 330–2.

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