Toast Topper


Benjamin Franklin George III Louis XVI George Washington

While serving as U.S. minister to France, Benjamin Franklin attended a dinner in Paris shortly after the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. The French foreign minister, Vergennes, began the toasts, saluting his King: “To His Majesty, Louis XVI, who, like the moon, fills the earth with a soft, benevolent glow.”

The British ambassador rose: “To George III, who, like the sun at noonday, spreads his light and illumines the world.”

When it was his turn, Franklin offered his toast: “I cannot give you the sun nor the moon, but I give you George Washington, General of the armies of the United States, who, like Joshua of old, commanded both the sun and the moon to stand still, and both obeyed.”

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