Ben Franklin and French Women

From “The Writer’s Almanac” 26Oct07:

It was on this day in 1776 that Benjamin Franklin left for a diplomatic mission to France, to gain support for the American Revolution.

Benjamin Franklin was a ladies man. It has been reported he had over a dozen illegitimate children. When he got to France he immediately went after the wives of the dignitaries, and given his track record, we must assume with some success. The French respected that. The French loved Franklin and assumed all Americans were like him. Since they were looking for an excuse to get into another dust-up with the British, having been 40 years or so since the regular as clockwork war between the two, Franklin’s stature in their eyes convinced them to help us out with our revolutionary war.

It proved decisive, but barely. Our own U.S. Continental Congress heard what a jolly time Franklin was having over in France enjoying the women and the food, and called him back home. They sent Thomas Jefferson over there to replace him. Jefferson was a bit of a stuffed shirt, and conflicted morally. He didn’t chase French women. The French quickly lost their admiration for Americans and sent word to their generals over here to come back home. Lucky for us the French Generals whipped a few British on their way out, just enough for us to declare victory.

While true and accurate, the above history lesson is an advertisement for the poem by Robert Bly what will greet you if you click on the above link. Here is is again.