Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Samuel Vaughan, Jr., 15 April 1783

From Samuel Vaughan, Jr.

AL: American Philosophical Society

15 April, 1783.

Mr S Vaughan Junr. has the honor to present his most respectful compliments to Dr Franklin, & to send him, the 1 Number of Mr Linguets memoire, on the Bastile:8 The 2 & 3 Numbers he will do himself the pleasure of forwarding to him, as soon as they come to hand. He hopes Dr Franklin will excuse his requesting him, to return them as soon as perused, they being in great request, & borrowed.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Political journalist Simon-Nicolas-Henri Linguet (XXVIII, 106) was imprisoned in September, 1780, for attacking a member of the nobility. Upon his release in May, 1782, he went to London, where he resumed publishing his widely read Annales politiques, civiles, et littéraires du 18ème siècle. Despite having sworn not to write about his incarceration (a condition of his release), Linguet announced in January, 1783, his forthcoming Mémoires sur la Bastille, et sur la détention de l’auteur dans ce château royal . … Filled with lurid details, it was serialized in Annales politiques …, X (1783), nos. 73–75. Later that year it was issued as a pamphlet and became a best seller in numerous authorized and pirated editions, helping to popularize an image of monarchical administration in France as arbitrary and despotic: Darline Gay Levy, The Ideas and Careers of Simon-Nicolas-Henri Linguet: a Study in Eighteenth-Century French Politics (Urbana, Ill., 1980), pp. 200–9; Robert Darnton, The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1982), pp. 24, 144–5.

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