A French Father of the American Revolution

This text was inspired by a list of selected customers from the Old Snuff House of Fribourgh and Treyer, at the Rasp and Crown, No. 34 St-James Haymarket, London, S.W (1720-1920).

Jacques-Donatien Le Ray, Seigneur de Chaumont, was a Frenchman who played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War by providing financial and diplomatic support to the American colonies in their struggle for independence from Great Britain. He was born on September 26, 1726, in the town of Riom, in the Auvergne region of France. He came from a prosperous family and inherited considerable wealth.

Le Château de Chaumont

Le Ray became an influential supporter of the American Revolution and a close associate of Benjamin Franklin, who was serving as a diplomat in France at the time. He provided substantial financial assistance to the American cause, including loans and donations to fund the American war effort. His financial support was critical to the success of the American Continental Army.

Le Ray also used his connections in French society and government, including, marquis de La Fayette, count de Vergennes and admiral Charles Henri d'Estaing, to facilitate the flow of French aid, troops, and supplies to the American colonies. This support was instrumental in tipping the balance in favor of the American revolutionaries.

The American delegation in France

Le Ray's diplomatic skills were invaluable in helping to secure French support for the American Revolution. He played a key role in negotiating with the French government and advocating for assistance to the American cause. He also served as a liaison between the American delegation, which included Benjamin Franklin, and French officials, including King Louis XVI and Foreign Minister Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes.

Le Ray developed close personal relationships with several prominent American figures, including Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane and John Adams. His friendship with Franklin, in particular, was significant. Franklin and Le Ray collaborated on various diplomatic and fundraising efforts to support the American cause.

French navy available for the American cause

After the American Revolution, Le Ray continued to be involved in various philanthropic and public activities. He supported education and scientific endeavors. In 1788, he was named a member of the Estates-General, a pivotal event leading up to the French Revolution.

Jacques-Donatien Le Ray passed away on December 12, 1803, in Paris, France. Jacques-Donatien Le Ray, Seigneur de Chaumont, is remembered as a crucial supporter of the American Revolution, particularly for his financial contributions and diplomatic efforts. His dedication to the cause of American independence and his close association with Benjamin Franklin and other American leaders played a significant role in the success of the American Revolution and the forging of the Franco-American alliance.

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