Izard, Ralph (1741-1804)

Diplomat, patriot, and politician.

Except for a 1774 tour of the continent with his friend Arthur Lee, Izard lived in London from 1771 until 1776, when he moved to France.

Appointed American Commissioner to Tuscany (1777), but the government there declined to recognize the United States, causing Izard to remain in Paris.

Unable to serve his appointed post, Izard desired to join Franklin, Lee, and Deane in negotiating with the French, leading to arguments with Franklin and furthering the deterioration of an already unstable American diplomatic situation in France.

Congress decided to maintain Franklin as sole commissioner in France, leading to Izard’s recall (1779). Served in the Continental Congress (1782-83) and later as a United States Senator (1789-95).

Izard was the subject of Franklin’s essay “Petition of the Letter Z.”

Born near Charleston, South Carolina. Married in 1767 to Alice DeLancey (daughter of New York politician James DeLancey); fourteen children, of whom three sons and four daughters reached maturity.