Order of Malta


Grand Master’s 1783 Letter to Benjamin Franklin


On Thursday, February 21st, Philadelphia’s Area Chair, David Ermine, JD, KM, had the privilege of viewing the original 1783 letter (shown below) from the Order’s Grand Master to Benjamin Franklin. He wrote to communicate his acceptance of the “Libertas Americana” medal, awarded to him for the Order of Malta’s contribution to American independence.

The letter is from Franklin’s personal papers, and is now in the possession of the august American Philosophical Society, adjacent to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Many thanks to one of our prospective Knights for arranging the viewing. We hope to arrange a future event surrounding a group viewing of this document.

Translation, courtesy of our prospective Knight:


I received with the greatest tenderness the medal which Your Excellency sent me, and the price that I put at this acquisition does not escape my recognition.

This monument of American liberty, of an event which Your Excellency had the glory of preparing and conducting, holds a distinguished place in my cabinet like your name, Monsieur, and merits to occupy the first place in the list of great men.

When the chance or the trade bringing in to the Ports of my Isle some of your fellow citizens or their ships, I will be ready to welcome them, they will find all the help they will need, and I will see with infinite pleasure, to create some liason between your interesting nation and my subjects, especially if it could serve to convince your Excellency of the distinguished sentiments with which I am

From Our Excellency
very affectionate servant
The Grand Master

Order of Malta

American Association, U.S.A
St. Patrick’s Cathedral Parish House
14 E 51st Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 371-1522