Carpenters' Hall

The French Connection

Stairway leading to Franklin's library, where he first laid plans for military assistance with a French secret agent, is little changed.

The French monarchy had no particular affection for a potential political threat — the upstart American democracy. But more important, Louis XVI and his court believed supporting the Revolution — if done secretly — would weaken their traditional nemesis, England. The mission of special agent Julien Achard de Bonvouloir was to assess the rebels' needs and how best to meet them. On three nights in December, 1775, Bonvouloir met in Franklin's library with Franklin, Francis Daymon, his librarian who served as translator, and John Jay, a delegate from New York to the First Continental Congress. As a result of these clandestine meetings, Silas Deane went to France to begin direct negotiations. It wasn't long before crucial supplies began to arrive in Atlantic ports from French islands in the West Indies.

Deane, the sole American representative in France until Franklin's arrival on December 21, 1776, granted Lafayette an unofficial commission as major general just before he sailed to serve under Washington. Later, Jay together with Franklin and John Adams negotiated the Treaty of Paris which finally gained independence.


Carpenters' Hall, 320 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Open free to the public daily, except Mondays (and Tuesdays in Jan. and Feb.), from 10am-4pm

Interested in using our pictures or information? Click here!

Copyright 1999-2016 by the Independence Hall Association,
a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1942.
Publishing electronically as On the Internet since July 4, 1995.