From Marie-Anne Le Page Fiquet, Dame Duboccage9
AL: American Philosophical Society
[after January 21, 1783]1
Mde. Duboccage rend mille tres humbles graces a Mr. franklin; la Vision de Colomb donne une champ bien vaste a l’imagination du poëte et l’ange avoit Sans doute prévu qu’il naîtroit un législateur tel que le tres docte franklin pour donner la liberté, de bonnes loix et Beaucoup de gloire a son païs.
Mde. Duboccage ne renvoie point l’imprimé en cas qu’elle trouve quelqu’un qui voulut souscrire.2
9. This is the only extant letter from Mme Duboccage (du Bocage, du Boccage), a poet and translator to whom BF had recently sent a prospectus for Joel Barlow’s nine-book epic poem, The Vision of Columbus. Mme Duboccage is remembered for her own epic poem, La Colombiade, ou la foi portée au Nouveau Monde, first published in 1756 to great acclaim: XXIII, 60n; DBF; Anne-Marie du Boccage, La Colombiade …, ed. Catherine Jardin (Paris, 1991), pp. 23–8.
Among BF’s papers at the APS is a copy of a letter Mme Duboccage received from Voltaire dated Nov. 2, 1777, written in response to her having praised his tragedy, Alzire ou les Américains. Voltaire returned the compliment, writing, “Vous, Madame, et les insurgens, me rendez l’Amérique précieuse.” The copy is in her hand; it is the text published in Theodore Besterman, ed., The Complete Works of Voltaire: Correspondence and Related Documents (51 vols., Toronto, Buffalo, and Geneva, 1968–77), XLV, 81.
1. The day by which BF had received Joel Barlow’s handwritten prospectuses for his Vision of Columbus, circulated to elicit subscribers. They were enclosed in Livingston’s letter of Nov. 21, which BF received along with Livingston’s of Dec. 3: XXXVIII, 331n, 405n. BF acknowledged receipt of the latter on Jan. 21, the preceding document.
2. We have not found any printed prospectus. The only two Frenchmen listed among the subscribers of the first edition were Louis XVI, to whom the poem was dedicated, and the marquis de Lafayette: The Vision of Columbus; a Poem in Nine Books (Hartford, 1787), pp. iii–v and the unpaginated list of subscribers at the end of the book.