A Letter from a Gentleman in Crusoe’s Island
Draft (unfinished): Library of Congress
This fragment of a projected pamphlet or newspaper article in Franklin’s hand, apparently never finished, is dated at the end of April 1764 because of its statement that John Penn, “young Cruso,” arrived in Pennsylvania with a commission as governor six months ago—Penn arrived on October 30, 1763.4 Though Franklin not infrequently employed the allegorical or analogical form in pamphlets, the approach in the present fragment may have been suggested to him by a pamphlet published in Boston in 1720, entitled New News from Robinson Cruso’s Island, in a Letter to a Gentleman at Portsmouth.
You desire a particular Account of the present State of our Public Affairs, which I shall endeavour to give you.
Young Cruso Grandson to honest old Robinson our first Proprietor arriv’d about 6 Months since, with a Commission to be Governor of the Island. He was received with universal Joy, and welcom’d by all Ranks and Orders of People with the greatest Cordiality.5 For our old Disputes with the Proprietary Family had slept some time, and were almost forgotten. The young Gentleman was known to us, having visited the Island formerly.6
4. See above, X, 375.
5. For BF’s own reception of “young” Penn (now 34) see above, X, 401.
6. John Penn was in Pennsylvania from 1752 to 1755, serving as a member of the Council and a commissioner at the Albany Conference; see above, IV, 458 n.