To His Excellency Benjamin Franklin March 31, 1787
From the original letter at the American Philosophical Society.
I mentioned in one of my essays of my design of going this Spring to Europe. I intend landing in france and from thence to England, and that I should take the model with me. The time I had fixed with myself was May, but understanding (since I saw you yesterday) that no french Packet sails that month, I must either take the April packet or wait till June. As soon as I can get ready by the April packet I intend not omitting the opportunity. My Father and Mother are yet living whom I am very anxious to see, and have informed them of my coming over the ensuing summer.
I propose going from hence by the Stage on Wednesday for New York and shall be glad to be favoured with the care of any letters of yours to France or England. My stay in Paris, when with Col Laurens, was so short that I do not feel myself introduced there, for I was in no house but at Passy and the Hotel Col Laurens was at. As I have taken a part in the Revolution and politics of this Country, and am not an unknown character in the political world, I conceive it would be proper in my going to Paris, that I should pay my respects to Count Vergennes to whom I am personally unknown, and I shall be very glad if a letter from you to him affording me that opportunity or rendering my waiting on him easy to me, for it so often happens that men live to forfeit the reputation at one time they gained at another that it is prudent not to presume too much on one’s self.
The Marquis Le Fayette I am the most known to of any gentlemen in France — should he be absent from Paris there are none I am much acquainted with. I am on exceeding good terms with Mr. Jefferson which will necessarily be the first place I go to.
As I had the honor of your introduction to America it will add to my happiness to have the same friendship continued to me on the present occasion.
Respecting the Model, I shall be obliged to you for a letter to some of the Commissioners in that department. I shall be glad to hear their opinion of it — If they will undertake the experiment of two Ribs, it will decide the matter and promote the work here — but this need not be mentioned —
The Assembly have appointed another Committee consisting of Mr. Morris Mr. Clymer Mr. Fitzsimmons Mr. Wheeler Mr. Robinson, to confer with me on the undertaking — The matter therefore will remain suspended till my return next Winter. It is worth waiting this event because if a single Arch to that extent will answer all difficulties in that River or others if the same condition are overcome at once. I will do myself the pleasure of waiting on you tomorrow and am
Dear Sir your much Obliged and Obedient hHmble Servant