From William Saunders and Others
Printed forms and AL: American Philosophical Society
[April 18-May 28. Printed form letters from Dr. William Saunders, April 18, and from Samuel Leeds, April 30. Each wishes to succeed Dr. Benjamin Alexander, deceased, as physician to the London Hospital, and solicits Franklin’s vote as a governor.5 A printed letter from Franklin’s colleague, Richard Jackson, April 24, recommends Dr. Brickenden of Lothbury. A form letter from Saunders, May 20, announces that the election will be held on May 25. A letter with autograph postscript from Smith, Wright & Gray, April 23, and an AL from H[enton] Brown, 6 May 28, support Leeds’s candidacy.]
5. For William Saunders, see DNB; an undated dinner invitation from him, among BF’s papers, was perhaps part of this campaign. Samuel Leeds, a Quaker and Edinburgh M.D., won the election with Quaker support, but on condition that he be licensed by the College of Physicians; his failure to satisfy this new requirement led to a law suit against Dr. John Fothergill, BF’s friend, which Leeds eventually lost. Benjamin Alexander, an Irishman with a Leyden degree, had been elected physician to the Hospital in 1765. BF was presumably one of its governors because he contributed five guineas or more a year, the only requirement for the position. E[rnest] W. Morris, A History of the London Hospital (3rd ed., London, 1926), pp. 84, 125, 241–2. For BF’s earlier interest in the Hospital see above, X, 248.
6. Smith, Wright & Gray was a Quaker banking firm in London, and Henton Brown was BF’s London banker; see above, XI, 179 n; IX, 218 n.