From Séraphin-Guillaume Hooke, Chevalier de L’Etang4
AL: American Philosophical Society
a Paris Ce 17 aoust 1783 rue des
Blancsmanteaux au Marais.
Le chier. de hooke Letang Mestre de Camp, attaché au Regiment de Berwick Irlandais Prie son Excellence Monsieur Franklin De Vouloir Bien Lui indiquer l’heure et Le jour ou elle pourroit Lui accorder une audience. Il a deja eu lhonneur De La voir et Desireroit Conferer avec Elle sur Les moyens De former un etablissement soit Dans La Virginie soit Dans La Pensilvanie. Il espere que son Excellence Voudra bien L’aider De ses Lumieres et agreer Les asseurances De son respect.5
Notations: De kooke.— / [In William Temple Franklin’s hand:] Appointed him, Thursday next at ½ pst. 10.—6
4. Born on Martinique into a branch of the Hooke family that had fled Ireland under Cromwell, Hooke de L’Etang was a colonel in the Berwick regiment in France, a chevalier de Saint-Louis, and from 1773 to 1776 a member of the prestigious Paris lodge Les Amis Réunis: Nicolas Viton de Saint-Allais, Nobiliaire universel de France … (21 vols., Paris, 1872–78), I, 21; Le Bihan, Francs-maçons parisiens, under Hooke.
5. Hooke de L’Etang was joined in this project by the chevalier de Saint-Olympe, who had already requested an interview on the same subject. In a note to WTF obviously written on Aug. 16, 1783 (dated “Samedy 16”), Saint-Olympe mentions having seen WTF at Charles’s lecture and requests a brief meeting on Wednesday the 20th for “des eclaircissements” on acquisitions in North America that he and Hooke are considering together. He also asks for a minute of BF’s time to discuss the project. If the 20th is not convenient, WTF should name another day (APS).
Whether BF discussed the venture with him on Aug. 20 is not known. That day, however, Saint-Olympe thanked BF and WTF for agreeing to sign his wedding contract. The ceremony was to take place early the following morning. See the annotation of the [c. Aug. 21] marriage announcement addressed to WTF, below.
6. The day of Saint-Olympe’s wedding.