Last week we published a link to a listing in French of the Franklin Parisian Masonic Lodge Jeton discussed earlier. Michel Prieur has provided the English version of the listing - here's an excerpt. Thanks! This is great background on Franklin's connection to the Lodge, and its historical importance. Plus, now I know what a plenipotentiary is!
As plenipotentiary of the United States of America he
negotiated help in favour of Insurgents and was received
officially at Versailles by the king. The title of plenipotentiary
takes on full significance in view of the fact that at
that time, the minimum delay for the exchange of a postal
message between France and America, was six weeks :
the man chosen to bear this title had sole responsibility
in taking decisions of consequence for his country as a
Benjamin Franklin succeeded then in a brilliant
diplomatic mission in having the new federal republic of
the United States of America recognised by monarchic
Europe, including England, which made peace on 3rd
September 1783, signing the Versailles treaty. France
thus took her revenge on her rival, England, which
had taken away Canada twenty years earlier, by the
Paris treaty. Having been elected President of the state
of Pennsylvania in in 1786, he died in Philadelphia on the
17th April 1790.
In a lesser-known capacity, he remains a major figurehead
in the history of freemasonry. He was initiated in
1731 at the Saint John of Philadelphia lodge, to which he
always remained faithful ; he became the Grand Master
of Pennsylvania in 1734 and also visited the Grand
Lodge of England. From 1777 to 1785 in France, he was
an affiliated member of the Nine Sisters' Lodge, he was
present on 7th April 1778 at Voltaire's initiation, and he
was Worshipful Master from 21st May 1779 to 1781,
following Lalande and preceding the Marquis de la Salle
and the Comte de Milly.
The latter died in 1784 and a 'jeton'
reproducing the same reverse side as that of Franklin
was struck on this occasion, bearing his portrait. This
lodge was founded in 1776, three years after the Grand
Orient of France, following an idea of Helvetius, himself
farmer general and who died in 1771. This was the most
important of pre-revolutionary Masonic lodges, being
the home of the most brilliant and most liberated minds,
for example Voltaire and Helvetius. This did not prevent
its disappearance in 1794. It started up again in 1805
and disappeared for good in 1848 never having regained
its former importance.
To give the layman an idea of the
importance of this lodge, of which Benjamin Franklin
was the most famous Worshipful Master, a 400-page
book was dedicated to it at the end of the 19th century
by Louis Amiable, a most eminent freemason of the 3rd
Republic. The book was republished (Paris 1989 ) with
a commentary of over 200 pages by Charles Porset, a
historian specialising in the 18th century at the CNRS.
(National Center for Scientific Research)
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 20, 2012: On the Franklin Parisian Masonic Lodge Medal
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster