Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [Philip Ludwell], 22 February 1763

To [Philip Ludwell]2

Draft: American Philosophical Society

Philada. Feb. 22. 1763

My Dear Friend,

I received your kind Congratulations on my Son’s Promotion3 with great Pleasure, and thank you cordially for your good Wishes concerning him. I have great Hopes of his doing well, as I know he has good Principles and good Dispositions.

I congratulate you on the glorious Peace we have made, the most advantageous to Great Britain, in my Opinion, of any our History has recorded.4

I must shortly make a Journey to your Country, which I should undertake with much greater Pleasure, if I could promise my self the Happiness of meeting there with my Dear Friend, (but that is not to be expected, for I hear you are to continue this Year in England). I pray sincerely that every Blessing may attend you, wherever you are, and particularly that of Health. O that I could invent something to restore and establish yours!5 But we shall meet, I trust, in a better Country, and with better Constitutions, vigourous Health and everlasting Youth; and since t’will be an additional Pleasure so great in itself and so easily afforded us, I am persuaded we shall know one another. In the meantime believe me ever, my dearest Friend Yours most affectionately


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2I. Minis Hays believed that this letter was intended for John Pringle and William Strahan because a notation “This to Dr. Pringle and Mr. Strahan” appears in the margin opposite a canceled passage in the second paragraph about the effects of the peace (Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Phila., 1908, III, 454–5). It seems clear, however, that BF meant merely to transfer the passage to letters to those men, and it does in fact appear almost unchanged in his letter to Strahan of March 28 and more briefly in one of February 23 (see below, p. 236, and the letter immediately following this one). No letter to Pringle of these months has been found. Reference in the third paragraph to an intended “Journey to your Country,” from which the addressee was absent in England, shows that he must have been either a Virginian or a New Englander, since it was to those colonial areas that BF planned trips on post-office business in the near future. The compliments offered to “Miss Ludwell and the other young Ladies” in the canceled postscript, quoted in the final footnote below, establish that the addressee was Col. Philip Ludwell (above, VI, 532 n, and this volume, p. 107 n), who, with his daughters, had moved from Va. to London in 1760, where BF had come to know him well.

3Not found.

4The preliminary peace treaty was signed at Paris, Nov. 3, 1762, and the definitive treaty, Feb. 10, 1763. The canceled passage about the peace, referred to in the first note above, follows at this point.

5At this point in the draft BF began a new paragraph with “My Son is now with me, and joins in best Wishes and,” then crossed out these words and wrote: “PS. Please to make my Compliments and best Wishes acceptable to Miss Ludwell and the other young Ladies; and believe me ever, with the most perfect Esteem and Affection, my Dear Friend.” Then BF canceled this postscript, placed a caret after “yours!,” and added in the margin the remainder of the letter as printed here.

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