Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Lafayette, [21 September? 1782]

From Lafayette

AL: American Philosophical Society

Paris Saturday Evening [September 21, 1782?]

I am Very sorry, My Dear sir, I Have not the Pleasure to Wait Upon You this Evening— But Mr. jay Called at Half Past Eight and told me He Had Considered of the Affair Now in Question, And Before Any thing Was Determined He Wants to Have A long Conversation With You— He Will be at Passy to Morrow Morning—1 for My Part I see You Will not of Course Give me Any Commands to Count de Vergennes, and Will therefore Confine Myself to a Conversation Upon General terms—late as it is I will Not trouble You, and Wish you a Better Night2—to Morrow Evening I will do Myself the Honor to Pay My Respects to You.

1It may be that the “Affair Now in Question” concerned Rayneval’s mission to England, for which see our headnote on Lafayette to BF, Sept. 12. According to Matthew Ridley, on Sept. 21 Jay and Lafayette had a long and testy discussion about why Rayneval was sent. The next day, Sunday, Jay went to Passy but Lafayette went to Versailles to see Vergennes, who (Lafayette claimed) told him for the first time that Rayneval was to see Shelburne. Vergennes was surprised that Jay knew about it, since he had only told two or three people: Klingelhofer, “Matthew Ridley’s Diary,” pp. 111–12.

The “Affair” might also be the ongoing question of Oswald’s commission. On Sept. 21 Ridley also wrote, “Dr. Franklin is not for Standing out for the previous acknowledgement of Independancy etc. and says it is a pity to keep 3 or 4 millions of People in War for the sake of Form etc.”

2Ridley noted on Sept. 22 that BF was “much better”: ibid., p. 113.

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