Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Hancock, 30 June 1783

From John Hancock

LS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Boston June 30. 1783

Dear Sir

I beg leave to introduce to your Excellcy Mr. DeValnais the bearer, late Consul of France, here; who is going home wth his lady.6 I take the Freedom to refer your Excellcy, to this Gentleman, for the particulars relative to the present Scituation of Affairs in America after so advantagious a Settlement of Peace, with which, I in the most cordial manner take this opportunity to Congratulate you.

Mrs. DeValnais is nearly connected wth my family, and Mr DeValnais his Conduct, during his residence among us, and in the Office of Consul as far as I have had any knowledge of the Same, entitles him, I think, justly to the favor of the court & ministry of France.

As I rely much upon the honor of my former acquaintance wth your Excellcy, permit me to ask an interest in your Friendship, influence & credit, in behalf of Mr DeValnais, in order to his more effectually accomplishing the business he is going upon wth the Court and Ministry of France—

I have the honor to be with peculiar esteem & regard (tho. at present much afflicted with the gout) Dear Sir Your most Obedient and very Hble Servt

John Hancock

His Excellcy, Doctr Franklin

Addressed: His Excellcy / Doctr. Franklin / Minister Plenipotentiary from the U. States / of No. America to the Court of / France / at Versailles / per favor of Mr DeValnais

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Valnais married Hancock’s niece Eunice Quincy in 1781; see XXXVIII, 473n, where he is identified. His consulship was revoked without pension at the end of 1781 because of irregularities concerning the sale of a French merchant ship. His finances and reputation ruined, he returned to France in 1783 with his family, hoping to restore his good name and obtain a continuation of his pension. They were in Paris by Sept. 13, when Valnais began petitioning the court: Anne Mézin, Les Consuls de France au siècle des lumières (1715–1792) (Paris, 1998), p. 577; Abraham P. Nasatir and Gary E. Monell, French Consuls in the United States … (Washington, D.C., 1967), p. 308.

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