From Alexander Dalrymple8
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Soho Square 17th April 1775
My Dear Sir
The Bearer Mr. William Whitchurch finding his Health much impaired by his assiduous application to his Business has been induced to make a Voyage to America; I believe you are not unacquainted with his Works as a Writing Engraver and if he finds the Climate agrees with him and that he can find suitable occupation he may remain at Philadelphia and I hope may be the means of improving this Branch of art in the Western World.9 You will very much oblige me by giving him your advice and Countenance. I shall leave England in a very few days having been lately appointed by the East India Company in my Standing in the Council of Fort St. George1 where I shall be happy to hear from You and glad of every opportunity to testify how sincerely I am My Dear sir Your most Obliged humble servant
Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin LLD / Philadelphia
Endorsed: Dalrimple 17. Ap. 1775.
8. For the explorer and hydrographer see above, XVIII, 214–15 n.
9. Whitchurch was later described as an “engenious Mapengraver” and “the ablest artist in that branch.” Rudolph Raspe to BF, Aug. 14, 1777 (APS); Georg Foster, A Voyage round the World in His Britannic Majesty’s Sloop, Resolution . . . (2 vols., London, 1779), I, XIV. The engraver apparently did not go to Philadelphia, and certainly did not stay there; for in 1777 Dalrymple gave him a second letter of the same tenor, in response to which BF promised to write friends in America: Whitchurch to BF, March 2, 1778, APS. A second and undated Whitchurch letter in the APS suggests that he never did emigrate.
1. He was leaving for a short and stormy sojourn in India, where he had previously spent more than a decade in the Company’s service when his patron, George Pigot (1719–77), had been governor of Madras. He was now returning with Pigot, who had been raised to the peerage and reappointed governor. They arrived at the end of the year, and Pigot promptly quarreled with a majority of the council; his opponents deposed and arrested him, and he died in confinement in May, 1777. Dalrymple was then recalled. DNB under Dalrymple and Pigot; Henry D. Love, Vestiges of Old Madras . . . (4 vols., London, 1913), III, 84, 103–6.