Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from the Chevalier Dubuysson, 31 December 1783

From the Chevalier Dubuysson2

ALS: American Philosophical Society

moulins En Bourbonnois le 31. Xre. 1783.


M Le marquis de lafayette me fait demander Les papiers que J’ai eu L’honneur de vous faire passer.3 Je ne scais si c’est pour vous Les Communiquer ou pour vérifier Lui même. Si je Suis susceptible de Lordre des Cincinati en [ce] cas Je vous prie Monsieur, de vouloir bien Les Lui faire passer sur Le champ j’ôse en même tems vous suplier Monsieur, de m’être favorable dans La circonstance présente:

Jai L’honneur d’être avec un profond Respect Monsieur Votre très humble Et très obéissant Serviteur4

Le Chevr. Dubuysson
Coel. des Coies. françoises

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Charles-François Dubuysson served with distinction in the Continental Army from 1776 to 1780, when he was wounded and taken prisoner. Released on parole, in 1781 he was granted leave to return to France. Louis XVI promoted him to the rank of colonel of infantry of the colonies: XXXV, 447–8; XXXVI, 88–9, 217; Asa B. Gardiner, The Order of the Cincinnati in France … (n.p., 1905), pp. 158–9.

3Lafayette was in charge of enlisting qualified French officers for the Cincinnati; see the headnote to Bariatinskii to BF, Dec. 22.

4Another letter about membership in the Cincinnati, undated and unsigned, might have been written as early as December. It describes the service of the late chevalier de Ternay. The writer explains that Ternay had commanded the naval squadron that escorted Rochambeau’s fleet (XXXII, 72–3n), had died in service, and was buried in America. Louis XVI had ordered a memorial tablet for his grave. The writer proposes membership for the chevalier’s young nephew Charles-Gabriel-Hilaire d’Arsac, the only descendant to carry his name (APS). We suspect the author of this letter to be the father of the candidate, the chevalier’s older brother Gabriel d’Arsac, marquis de Ternay (1721–1796). For both men see H. Beauchet-Filleau and Ch. de Chergé, Dictionnaire historique et généalogique des familles du Poitou (2nd ed.; 4 vols., Poitiers, 1891), I, 121–2. Ternay’s French tombstone was placed on his grave in Newport, R.I., in 1785: Edwin M. Stone, Our French Allies … (Providence, 1884), pp. 340–51.

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