Ben Franklin was sent to France (as were two others) to seek aide and personnel from France during the American Revolution. During his time there he attended the Lodge of Nine Muses where he was elected Master of the lodge for two consecutive years.

I've heard claims that he was "recruiting" people directly from the lodge to assist in the war. France supported America covertly but avoided signing a formal treaty with the US until after the battle of Saratoga gave France confidence in the US's ability to win the war.

I'm interested to know what specific influence his association with the fraternity had in his dealings with France? Specific names and titles of members of the French government who also attended the lodge of Nine Muses during that time would be great.

I'm asking as a new Freemason myself (2nd degree) trying to learn more about the fraternity's involvement in the American revolution. Any relevant information is greatly appreciated.

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    I don't think this question is in any serious danger of closure, but still we do tend to insist that posts here contain references for any non-trivial claims. If you could edit to add some references, it would be appreciated (and incidentally might garner more votes). – T.E.D. Oct 29 '19 at 13:05

Here is an article which concludes that:

the most significant achievement of the lodge [Les Neuf Sœurs] was its immense support of the American Revolution.

More specifically:

Because of his leadership position, Franklin was able to use the lodge to acquire financial aid for America, to develop friendships needed for the fulfillment of his diplomatic mission, and to generate propaganda about the seditious American states.

Activities of the lodge included a publication dedicated to these purposes, Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique. It is interesting to note that such overtly subversive activity "flagrantly violated Masonic regulations," but was somehow never really questioned.

Wikipedia lists key lodge members, which included many prominent Frenchmen, as well as John Paul Jones and other Americans.

  • By the time Franklin arrived in France as ambassador of the nascent United States in 1779, affairs were long past the point of "any measure that might tend to subvert the peace and good order of society" being relevant to Masonic sensibility. Further - the traditions of Continental Grand Orients in respect to political and religious participation by member Masons are very different from those of Anglophone Grand Lodges. – Pieter Geerkens Oct 29 '19 at 10:26
  • Franklin arrived in Paris late in 1776, not 1779. – kimchi lover Oct 29 '19 at 13:52
  • See, eg, founders.archives.gov/… for Franklin arriving in France in late December 1776. – kimchi lover Oct 29 '19 at 16:21
  • @kimchilover December 1776 is still late enough to make Pieter's point. – Spencer Nov 2 '19 at 14:39
  • @Spencer Maybe, maybe not. As I see it the question is, did Franklin help France decide to sign the early 1778 treaty and to launch the war-winning Expédition Particulière, and if so, did his Masonic connections help him. The date of his elevation to mastership of the lodge need is not the start-date of BF's influence. – kimchi lover Nov 2 '19 at 14:57

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