Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Ann Hudson de Lavau, [1 August 1783]

From Ann Hudson de Lavau5

ALS (incomplete):6 American Philosophical Society

[August 1, 1783]7

months, the anxiety of my mind Joined with their manner of living brought me very near my Grave, I came here about eight days ago for the recovery of my health, pardon me sir for troubling you with this account of my self, but I think it is necessary I Shoud you be made acquinted with my manner of Living since I left paris mr. hoops8 in form me that my mother ad sent me letter to your offies permitt me to request it of you sir that if there is any letter for me at your offies you will be so obliging as to order them to be forwarded to me here under the care of Mre. fillath pere.

I have the honour to be with the greatest respect your most obedint servant honoured sir


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5A Virginian by birth, Mrs. Lavau (Loviel, Loviet) came to France with her French husband, who later abandoned her. BF first intervened on her behalf in 1781: XXXV, 376–7; XXXVIII, 108–9.

6The second sheet, transcribed here, is intact. The first sheet, both sides of which were filled, was torn vertically, and only a narrow column on the right-hand side remains. From this we can glean the place names Rochefort and Nantes and a series of words suggestive of a prolonged and frustrating journey, including: “unfortunate,” “difficulty,” “set out,” “opportunity,” “recommendation,” “procure a pasage,” “was addressed,” “convent,” and “court.”

7Dated by BF’s reply of Aug. 10, below.

8Adam Hoops: XXXVI, 99n. At the beginning of June, Hoops, who knew that BF had letters for her, evidently asked the Lorient merchant Zachariah Loreilhe to help obtain them. Loreilhe wrote as much to WTF on June 4, saying that Mrs. Hudson was in a convent in Lorient and that he would deliver the letters if WTF would forward them to the Lorient firm of Barclay, Moylan & Co. (with which he was associated): Loreilhe to WTF, June 4, 1783 (APS); Matthew Ridley’s Journal, entry of May 30, 1782 (Mass. Hist. Soc.); Jefferson Papers, X, 304.

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