Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Nicolas Albert, 14 October 1783

From Nicolas Albert9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris ce 14 8bre. 1783


Vous m’avez fait L’honneur de me faire Entrévoir que l’appartement audessus de mes Bains pouroit Vous Convenir;1 si Je pouvois compter être assès hureux de Vous avoir dans ma maison, n’importe dans quelque tems que ce fut, Je me hâterai de le mêtre en Etât de Vous recevoir.

J’ai L’honneur dêtre avec respect Monsieur Votre tres humble et trés Obeissant Serviteur


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9The proprietor of a new bathing establishment located on the quai d’Orsay, across from the jardin des Tuileries. With separate wings for men and women, it offered what had never been available in Paris: every variety of ordinary and medicinal bath (including sauna, steam, aromatic, mineral, and friction) and hot and cold showers whose various jets sprayed water from above, below, and horizontally. Prices ranged from 2 l.t. 8 s. to 12 l.t., with two rooms reserved for the poor at no charge. Albert had conceived the project in 1769, and received encouragement from both the Faculté de médecine and the Société royale de médecine. The Faculté approved the establishment at the end of July, 1783, whereupon Albert sent an announcement to the Jour. de Paris. Later in the summer the paper described the baths and encouraged the public to visit: Jour. de Paris, July 30, Aug. 26, 1783. The Académie royale de chirurgie gave its approval on Nov. 6, and in the spring of 1784 the Société royale de médecine appointed an investigatory commission that included BF; their report will be covered in vol. 42. Albert died in 1801: Claude Pris, ed., Documents du minutier central des notaires de Paris concernant l’histoire économique et sociale (1800–1830) (Paris, 1999), p. 286. Our thanks to Marie Davaine of the library at the Académie nationale de médecine for assistance with this research.

1No reply from BF has been found, and it is unclear whether he was interested in using this apartment when taking the baths or more generally during visits to Paris.

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