Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Charles Moore, 5 February 1775

To Charles Moore9

ALS: Pennsylvania Hospital

London, Feb. 5. 1775.


I duly received your Favour of Dec. 7. with a Copy of the Resolution of the House appointing me Agent for the current Year; and the printed Votes. I am oblig’d by your Care in sending them so expeditiously.10

A Friend of mine, Lord Le Despencer, has lately erected at Wyecomb his fine Country Seat, a noble Statue of William Penn, our Founder; holding in its hand a Scroll on which is the enclos’d Inscription in gold Letters. I think such a Statue would well become a Niche in some Part of the Statehouse next the Garden. It might be had for about £50.1 I am, with much Esteem, Your most obedient Servant

B Franklin

Cha Moore, Esqr.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9A Philadelphia physician who was also the perennial clerk of the Assembly, an office that he held from 1757 to 1776. Above, X, 244 n; 8 Pa. Arch., VIII, 7514.

10More polite than accurate: the resolution, noted above under its date, was passed on Oct. 15.

1For the statue see BF to Le Despencer above, April 14. The enclosure BF mentions was a printed copy of the inscription, which reads: “CHARTER of privileges to Pennsylvania, MDCC. ALMIGHTY GOD being the only LORD of CONSCIENCE, I do grant and declare that no person who shall acknowledge ONE ALMIGHTY GOD, and profess himself obliged to live quietly under the CIVIL GOVERNMENT, shall be in any case molested or,” at which point BF wrote “Here the Scroll turns up.” The enclosure was with the letter until the 1890’s, and is reproduced in Thomas G. Morton and Frank Woodbury, The History of the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1751–1895 (Philadelphia, 1895), p. 333; it has since disappeared. BF’s suggestion bore no fruit, but the statue eventually found its way to Philadelphia. Le Despencer’s successor did not share his admiration for Penn, the story goes, and sold the statue for scrap; John Penn found it in a London junk yard, bought it, and presented it to the Pennsylvania Hospital, outside which it still stands. Ibid., pp. 331–5.

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