Ionelia Engel, University of Pennsylvania, English 129-601

French women played an important social and possibly political role in Benjamin Franklin's life during the Revolutionary War. By creating this site, I wish to acknowledge and honor some of those women who rejoiced in the American cause, supporting Franklin in his endeavors to achieve political goals.


On September 26, 1776, Benjamin Franklin was appointed one of three commissioners to the court of France in order to negotiate a treaty of commerce. In France, however, Benjamin Franklin was famous, being respected by politicians and scientists, and adored by women.

Ben Franklin's Belles

Madame Helvétius

It was no secret that Benjamin Franklin was fond of women, and in France his most favorite Madams were Madame Brillon and Madame Helvétius. If to Madame Brillon who was a married women, Franklin limited to sending love letters, to Madame Helvétius who was a widow, Franklin actually proposed.



Countess d'Houdetot

There were other French women who sought Franklin's companionship. Countess d'Houdetot, another influential women in France, supported the American cause, while Duchess de La Rochefoucauld enjoyed talking politics with Franklin.







He sent this "Treaty of Peace," a friendship request in a political format, to Madame Brillon.

Articles for a Treaty of Peace with Madame Brillon
Passy, July 27.

There shall be eternal Peace, Friendship & Love, between Madame
B. and Mr F.
...In order to maintain the same inviolably, Made B. on her Part
stipulates and agrees, that Mr F. shall come to her whenever she
sends for him.
ART. 3.
That he shall stay with her as long as she pleases.
ART. 4.
That when he is with her, he shall be oblig'd to drink Tea,
play Chess, hear Musick; or do any other thing that she requires of
ART. 5.
And that he shall love no other Woman but herself. Ben Franklin and the Ladies of Paris                                          
ART. 6.
And the said Mr F. on his part stipulates and agrees, that he                    
will go away from M. B.'s whenever he pleases.
ART. 7.
That he will stay away as long as he pleases.
ART. 8.
That when he is with her, he will do what he pleases.
ART. 9.
And that he will love any other Woman as far as he finds her
Let me know what you think of these Preliminaries. To me they
seem to express the true Meaning and Intention of each Party more
plainly than most Treaties. -- I shall insist pretty strongly on the
eighth Article, tho' without much Hope of your Consent to it; and on
the ninth also, tho I despair of ever finding any other Woman that I
could love with equal Tenderness: being ever, my dear dear Friend,

Yours most sincerely


French women in general sympathized with the American cause, and they adored Benjamin Franklin because in their view he was an American symbol.


The French rejoiced the American dream,

either allegorically or fashionably.

If you would like to see images of Franklin please follow the link Franklin.

For more about Benjamin Franklin follow Benjamin Franklin by J.A.Leo Lemay or Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary.

You will find very interesting images of or related to Benjamin Franklin at American Philosophical Society.


Images and articles images/00474-3922.gif - Ben Franklin's Belles rousseau/images/im84.jpg - Madame Houdetot Helvetius -Treaty of Peace