Franklin and the French
FRANKLIN AND HIS GRANDSONS slowly made their way to Paris. In several ways he differed from the other members of the diplomatic corps who attended the French court, which usually was located at the royal chateau of Versailles, a few miles from Paris.1 To begin with, at age 70 he was exceptionally old for someone beginning a diplomatic career, and he was frequently in ill health, particularly from gout and kidney or bladder stones. His preparation for that career, his service as a colonial agent was as good a training, however, as was received by most diplomats. Many of them, like Vergennes, began as embassy officials, often serving in a secretarial capacity. Franklin had learned the workings of the British court firsthand; it had taught him patience, skepticism, and the necessity of prudence and tact. There were gaps in his education, however, that no one in Congress could help him overcome. Unlike European diplomats, he did not receive formal instruction about the history and politics of the court to which he was being sent. This was a serious problem for Franklin and his fellow diplomats. Both Franklin and John Adams, who joined the American commission in 1778, tried to learn European diplomacy by reading
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Publication information: Book title: Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution. Contributors: Jonathan R. Dull - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 2010. Page number: 65.
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