Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from ——— Moseley and Jean-Joseph Sue fils, 23 May 1783

From ——— Moseley6 and Jean-Joseph Sue fils7

AL: American Philosophical Society

Paris 23 May 1783

Mr. Moseley and Mr. Suë Junr. present their most respectful Compliments to his Excellency Doctor Franklin, and they will do themselves the honour of dining with him on Sunday the 25 Inst.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Possibly the English surgeon Benjamin Moseley (1742–1819), who practiced for many years in Jamaica, was elected to the APS (1775), and returned to London in 1784 or 1785. Biographical accounts differ as to his whereabouts in the early 1780s. According to contemporary obituaries, he traveled through Europe before returning to London, visiting hospitals, meeting with physicians, and gaining an honorary medical degree at Leyden: ODNB; Gent. Mag., LXXXIX (1819), 374–5; Annual Biography and Obituary for the Year 1821, V (London, 1821), 241.

7We assume that the “Sue Junr.” of this letter is Jean-Joseph Sue (1760–1830), son of the renowned anatomist of the same name (1710–1792), rather than his cousin Pierre, dit Sue le jeune (1739–1816), who was also a distinguished surgeon and the author of numerous works of medical history. Both Jean-Joseph and his father were known to BF and WTF (see below). Sue père was chief surgeon at the Hôpital de la Charité, professor of anatomy at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, and a member of the Royal Society. Sue fils studied under his father, earned a doctorate at Edinburgh, and had a distinguished career as a surgeon and professor of anatomy, succeeding his father at the hospital and Académie and continuing his father’s celebrated anatomical cabinet: Nouvelle biographie; Fernand Gillet, L’Hôpital de la charité: Etude historique depuis sa fondation jusqu’en 1900 (Montévrain, 1900), p. 98; Louis Vitet, L’Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture: Etude historique (Paris, 1861), p. 405.

Though no letters survive between the father and BF, John Coakley Lettsom refers to Sue père as a mutual friend in his letter to BF of Jan. 28, 1784. John Foulke mentioned both father and son in a Jan. 12, 1782, letter to WTF, and in a note dated only “Saturday Morng.,” George Fox invited WTF to a dinner with Foulke and Sue, whom he described as “a young Gentleman of Doct. Foulke’s acquaintance.” That dinner probably occurred between late fall, 1782, when Fox returned to Paris from various travels, and early May, 1783, when he left to sail for America (XXXIX, 563n). All three letters are at the APS.

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