Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Lafayette, 25 February 1782

From Lafayette

AL: American Philosophical Society

Paris february 25th 1782

Mis. [Marquis] de Lafayette’s Most Respectfull Compliments Wait on Mr franklin and Has the Honor to Inform His Excellency that in Compliance with His directions He Had Last Evening a Conference with Count de Vergennes—4 The Minister Said He Wished to Make Himself the Communication to Mr. franklin, when Asked for it By Him, So that the Sum will Be immediately Communicated,5 and I Heartly Wish it was not less difficult to obtain its Augmentation. The Petition6 will Be presented this Evening to Mr. de Castries, and the Answer sent to Passy as Soon as possible.

Mr. franklin Cannot Render His friend More Happy than in Employing of Him for the Service of America, and He feels a particular pleasure in Avoiding for the doctor the trouble of journeys to Versailles where His Peculiar Situation Calls Him two or three times a Week.7

Addressed: His Excellency Mr. / franklin Passy

Notation: Mr. de La Fayette Feby. 25. 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Undoubtedly this conference was motivated by the dire news contained in Vergennes’ letter of Feb. 20, above. With most of the Dutch loan exhausted, BF was left with no choice but to request a new loan from the French government, and he used Lafayette as his intermediary.

5The sum to be loaned to Congress. The meeting was held on Friday, March 1, and its results communicated to Robert Morris on March 4, below.

6Although we have not located the petition, it concerned the need for ships to carry to America the supplies collected by Palteau de Veimerange. In the letter to Morris just cited, BF mentioned meeting with Castries about the subject on March 1.

7Lafayette’s frequent visits were to solicit French assistance for the coming campaign. In a memoir to Vergennes he summarized their discussions, asking for 10,000,000 or 12,000,000 l.t. and help in attacking New York and/or Charleston: Stevens, Facsimiles, XVII, no. 1641; Louis Gottschalk, Lafayette and the Close of the American Revolution (Chicago, 1942), p. 355n.

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