Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from a Committee of the Library Company of Philadelphia, 28 December 1773

From a Committee of the Library Company of Philadelphia

Minutebook copy: Library Company of Philadelphia

Philada. Decr. 28th 1773


In Behalf of the Directors of the Library Company of Philadelphia, we acknowledge the receipt of your sundry favours, particularly of the 22d August 1772 with the Books by Falconer; for observations upon which you will please to be referr’d to the last Page of the Inclosed.4 Mr. Bache has likewise delivered Hawkesworth’s Voyages, McPherson’s Iliad and Dalrymple’s Letters,5 for which additional instance of your attention to the Interest of the Company, we present our Thanks. The Directors agree with you in Sentiment concerning the Journals of the House of Commons as the opportunities of purchasing them at Auction are so frequent and the price so much lower. We should be glad to hear how soon the new Edition of the Encyclopaedia may be expected.6

The Company being in want of the Books mentioned in the inclosed Catalogue, must beg your kind assistance in procuring them (with any others you may think proper for our Collection) to be sent by the first Opportunity. We should be glad with these Books to have a sketch of our Account upon receipt of which we shall be careful immediately to remit the Balance.

Since our last the Library has been removed to a new Building called The Carpenters Hall,7 in the Centre of the Square, in which Friends School stands; the Books (inclosed within Wire Lattices) are kept in one large Room and in another handsome Appartment the Apparatus is deposited and the Directors meet. With great Regard We are Sir Your obliged humble Servants8

Robt. S Jones.
Josiah Hewes.

PS. The Directors some time since sent a Catalogue of the Books in the Library, which we hope got to hand.

In Case of Doctr. Franklin’s Absence, the inclosed Catalogue of Books is recommended to Mr. Strachan, to be forwarded per first Opportunity for this place.9

Samuel Rhoads

Sent per the Polly, Capt. Ayres10

Doctr. Benjamin Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4BF’s letter is above, XIX, 270. The committee enclosed the list of books mentioned in Rhoads’s postscript.

5The books that BF sent the Library via Richard Bache were John Hawkesworth, An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere … (3 vols., London, 1773); James Macpherson (the “translator” of the Ossianic poems), The Iliad of Homer … (2 vols., London, 1773); and part I of vol. II of Sir John Dalrymple, Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland … (2nd ed.: 2 vols. in 3, London, 1771–88), which contained official correspondence and was published in 1773.

6For the journals of the House see above, XIX, 270. The Library Co. had been interested in the Encyclopédie for almost three years: above, XVIII, 17, 69, 117–18; XIX, 117.

7The now famous Philadelphia landmark had been completed in 1771. The Library’s moving into it was apparently a reason why the first Continental Congress met there in 1774: Charles H. Cohen, “The Origins of Carpenters’ Hall …,” Numismatic and Antiquarian Soc. of Philadelphia Pub., XXVIII (1916–18), 124.

8For the members of the committee see above, XVIII, 18 n; XIX, 153 n.

9The Library’s catalogue was The Charter, Laws, and Catalogue of Books of the Library Company of Philadelphia … (Philadelphia, 1770). A presentation copy to BF, inscribed by Francis Hopkinson, is now in the Library of the APS. This was presumably the volume that BF acknowledged on Feb. 18, 1774, along with the other “Catalogue” or list of books to be bought. Strahan shipped the order at that time; see his bill below, Sept. 13, 1774.

10The Polly was the tea ship; Capt. Ayres was clearly allowed to pick up letters, but the day after this one was written he was compelled to return to England with his cargo. Labaree, Tea Party, pp. 158–9.

Index Entries