Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Henry Laurens, 29 March 1784

From Henry Laurens

ALS: Library of Congress; copy: University of South Carolina Library

Bath 29th. March 1784.


Mr. Bourdieu of London intending shortly a visit to France is desirous of paying his Respects at Passy. Permit me Sir, the liberty of introducing him in person to your acquaintance. To say Mr. Bourdieu merits the regard & acknowledgements of the Citizens of our United States would be only repeating what I have heretofore signified in private conversation, but over & above such considerations I feel a satisfaction in foreseeing that while I gratify the request of one friend the other will be no loser by devoting an hour to a Gentleman of eminent character in the commercial World & of much intelligence in Political affairs.2

I have the honor to be With the highest Esteem & Respect Sir Your obedient & most humble servant

Henry Laurens

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esquire Passy.

Endorsed: Mr Laurens to BF. Feby. March, April & May 1784—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The merchant James Bourdieu was a business associate and friend of Laurens’ who had sympathized with the American cause. He had aided Laurens when the latter was confined in the Tower of London: XXXVII, 710; XLI, 590n; Laurens Papers, XV, 390, 406–35. His purpose in going to France was to negotiate an agreement between the East India Company and the newly constituted French East India Company, for which his firm, Bourdieu, Chollet & Bourdieu, hoped to secure the London agency. It also sought to become the London purchasing agent of the farmers general for American tobacco: Lüthy, Banque protestante, II, 382–3, 415–17, 674–82; Price, France and the Chesapeake, II, 687–90, 739–41.

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