Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Isaac Smith, Jr., [before 17 May 1771]

From Isaac Smith, Jr.7

ALS: American Philosophical Society

[Before May 17, 17718]


I called at Mrs. Stevenson’s yesterday, but was so unfortunate as to find you absent. As I am told that you design for the country in a day or two, and I may perhaps lose an opportunity of seeing you, I have used, sir, the freedom of addressing you in this manner and would beg the favour of your kind advice with regard to my intended expedition to France (on which I expect to enter in the course of next week,) in any instance where you may judge sir, a direction to be proper. And if I might presume, sir, so far on your indulgence I would also beg leave to ask your recommendation to any particular Gentlemen of the number of your friends either in France or [Holland, as?] the Gentlemen of the City, who are pleas[ed to ho]nour me with their friendship and acquaintance have probably few, if any connections in those countries, except such as are merely mercantile.

As you was pleased, sir, to mention a plan of Prof. Dr. Allamande’s for the circuit of Holland,9 and so obliging at the same time as to offer me the favour of a copy, I should now sir, be extremely glad to accept of this mark of your complaisance.

I am very sorry to give you the trouble of this note, sir, but, relying on your candor and goodness to forgive me, I am, sir, with the sincerest respect, Your obliged and humble servant

I. Smith JR

Addressed: To / Benjn: Franklin Esq. / At Mrs. Stevenson’s, / Cravenstreet / In the Strand /

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The son of a Boston merchant and Abigail Adams’ first cousin; he had come to England the year before with an introduction to BF from Ezra Stiles: above, XVII, 287. We were mistaken in saying there that Smith stayed on until 1784. He sailed for America in December, 1771, entered the ministry, and did not return to England until May, 1775. Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, XVI, 524–5.

8See BF’s reply below, May 17.

9Jean Nicholas Sebastien Allamand (1713–87), F.R.S., was a professor of philosophy and natural history at the University of Leyden, and particularly interested in electrical experiments. His “plan” seems to have been for a tour of Holland, but we have been unable to identify it.

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