MastroNet August 2005
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In 1776, soon after signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin traveled overseas to serve as one of the American Commissioners in France. While there for nearly a decade, Franklin forged a Treaty of Alliance between the two countries, became the first American Minister to France, and facilitated the Treaty of Peace with Great Britain. It was during the very year of that armistice treaty, 1782, that Minister Franklin sent this letter to Madame A. Ogle (a humorously appropriate surname, considering Franklin's noted penchant for doing so with his many paramours). The one-page letter, written in a scribe's hand, is signed, "B. Franklin." This brown-ink "9" signature is the document's boldest, most eye-catching facet, with well-stroked integrity, a commanding visual presence, and a large, looping paraph. The majority of surface wear to the 9" x 14-1/2" document resides not on the letter page itself, which grades apparent Excellent, but on the attached docket, where discreet professional restoration, more pronounced evidence of handling, and normal paper loss from the wax seal are all visible. Housing this more-than-two-centuries-old paper relic, and an accompanying portrait image, is an exquisite double-matted and framed display. The letter's text reads, in full, "I received the letter you did me the honour of writing to me some time since and did apply for the Permission you desired, which was promised me. Having heard nothing farther of it, I imagined it had been sent directly to Boulogne. I have just received your second Letter, of the 21st Instant, and shall immediately apply again. I suppose it has been forgotten, as I cannot imagine that there is any Objection to it, and I have no doubt of obtaining it. I am, with respect, Madam, Your most obedient and most humble servant, B. Franklin." Signed letters—particularly those from Franklin's tenure as Minister to France—are more seldom offered than documents and land grants signed by the great printer, inventor and statesman. LOAs from Steve Grad and John Reznikoff/PSA DNA.
1782 Benjamin Franklin Signed Letter as Minister to France
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