'Ben Franklin in Paris', Guest Post by Regan Walker, author of To Tame the Wind

Hey all and Happy Friday! Today I have a fabulous guest post from Regan Walker as part of her Blog Tour for To Tame the Wind, her latest Historical Romance novel, the prequel to her Agents of the Crown series.

Please enjoy the guest post and feel free to leave any questions you have for Regan Walker in the comments below. She will be stopping by periodically to answer your inquiries!

Take it away, Regan...

My newest historical romance, To Tame the Wind, is set in 1782, the last year of the American Revolution, however, it does not take place in America. Rather, it takes place in Paris and London and the waters of the English Channel. As such, it brings to the fore a part of the war not often focused on: the incredible contribution of France to American’s victory. And key to that contribution was Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin came to Paris in 1777 to solicit France’s aid and support. France was eager to thwart Britain’s imperial ambitions. There was also widespread sympathy in France for America’s desire for liberty and self-determination. America’s revolution was perceived as the incarnation of the Enlightenment against “English tyranny”.

Living in Passy, just outside of Paris in a wing of a mansion provided by Jacques-Conatien Le Ray de Chaumont, Franklin learned the language and displayed an uncanny knack for politics and persuasion, which led scholar Leo Lemay to call Franklin "the most essential and successful American diplomat of all time."

The alliance between France and America negotiated by Franklin was signed on February 6, 1778. Titled the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, it provided for France’s open support of America’s claim of independence.

The French had three goals: to help the Americans win their independence; to expel the British from the West Indies where France held many profitable, sugar-producing islands; and to compel the British to concentrate the majority of their naval strength in the English Channel. Both the French and British tried to secure Franklin’s favor. The British eventually sought reconciliation and peace; the French sought an alliance and war. The French won enabling Franklin to pursue America’s victory. Not surprisingly, in March of 1778, Britain declared war on France.

France had made a brave move, entering into a treaty in defiance of a power with whom they were not at war for the sake of creating a republic that might one day devour Europe. The decision was not an easy one, but, sighed the French Prime Minister, Franklin had skillfully led them all by the nose. His personality and love of creature comforts were admired by the French, even indulged.

Franklin’s ally in all this was the French Foreign Minister, Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes. Both Franklin and Vergennes endured the harsh criticism of John Adams. As Thomas Jefferson described Adams’ feelings, “He hates Franklin, he hates John Jay, he hates the French, he hates the English.” Adams could criticize Franklin all he liked, but in the end, it was Franklin who secured the money to keep America going.

Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes
Vergennes persuaded King Louis XVI to give the America money, soldiers (most notably Lafayette, who became an aide to Washington and a combat general), sailors, ships and supplies. At first, France’s support was covert. French agents sent America military aid, predominantly gunpowder, through the legitimate French company Rodrigue Hortalez et Compagnie, beginning in 1776. But by 1777, over five million livres of aid had been sent to America.

In all, France contributed about 1.3 billion livres (in modern currency, approximately thirteen billion dollars) to support the Americans, and this didn’t include what France spent fighting Britain on land and sea outside America. According to Franklin, our wily commissioner in Paris, at one point while France was having difficulty meeting its own expenses, it advanced “six millions to save the credit of ours.”

In addition to securing aid, Franklin worked tirelessly to gain the freedom of American prisoners in England. They were treated abysmally by the English and died at an appalling rate. (You’ll meet one handsome American privateer captain taken captive in To Tame the Wind.)

Franklin also issued letters of marque to three vessels that became American privateers: the Black Prince, the Black Princess and the Fearnot. In my story, he issues one to the heroine’s father, a French pirate named Jean Donet. Like Donet’s fictional ship, La Reine Noire (the Black Queen), the ships receiving Franklin’s letters of marque were French-owned but unlike Jean Donet’s ship, they had American captains and Irish and American crews.

The fictional La Reine Noire
While there were other American commissioners in Paris, there is no doubt that America would not have won the Revolutionary War without France's financial and military aid. There is also no doubt that Franklin was almost entirely responsible for obtaining that aid. He served as America’s commissioner to France until 1783. That all of France admired and loved him is clear. When the news of his death reached Paris in 1790, the French admiration for the American statesman was such that in the middle of the French Revolution, the National Assembly decided to adjourn for the day.

ReganWalker_ToTametheWind - 800px

To Tame the Wind by Regan Walker

Publication Date: May 9, 2015 |CreateSpace |eBook; 294p

Series: Agents of the Crown (Prequel)
Genre: Historical Romance


All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell's schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear... her.


The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire's father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.


“A sea adventure like no other, a riveting romance!” -NY Times bestselling author Shirlee Busbee

“Another exciting historical romance from Regan Walker” –NY Times Bestselling Author Virginia Henley

“I was hooked from the first page! Political intrigue, a bit of mystery and a beautifully developed romance that swept me from Paris to London and to the waters of the English Channel! Very, very, very well done!” –The Reading Cafe

Pick up at Amazon

03_Regan WalkerAbout the Author

Bestselling author Regan Walker loved to write stories as a child, particularly those about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors encouraged her to pursue the profession of law, which she did. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.” And in each of her novels, there is always real history and real historic figures. Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses. For more information please visit Regan Walker’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 27
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 29
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Guest Post at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, July 30
Interview at Yelena Casale's Blog

Friday, July 31
Review at Kristin Un-Ravelle'd

Saturday, August 1
Review at Diana's Book Reviews

Sunday, August 2
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Monday, August 3
Review at "Good Friends, Good Books and a Sleepy Conscience: This is the Ideal Life."

Tuesday, August 4
Review at Shelly's Book Shelves

Thursday, August 6
Spotlight at Long Ago Love

Friday, August 7
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, August 13
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, August 14
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

04_To Tame the Wind_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Amy! Thanks for having me on Passages to the Past to talk about Ben Franklin's fascinating time in Paris...he's a character in To Tame the Wind!


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