From Benjamin Webb5
ALS:6 American Philosophical Society
London decr. 25th: 1777.
The Bearer of this is a particular Friend of mine. A Mr. Roegler of Leipsig. A long Acquaintance with him myself, as well as the general Sufferage of More who have that Pleasure, confirm me in the Opinion of his being a particularly worthy Character. As such, I take the Liberty to recommend him to an Honor he was very desirous of; that of being introduced to you in his way through Paris. Mr. Roegler’s reputation as a Scholar in the University of Leipsig is on the most respectable footing.7 I am Dear Sir Your Most obedient humble Servant
Notation: B. Webb
5. He has not appeared before, except perhaps as the Mr. Webb who in 1775 carried letters from BF to Thomas Viny: above, XXI, 487. A Benjamin Webb of St. Martin’s Lane, Cannon St., had been until 1774 a director of the London Assurance Co., and was listed thereafter as a merchant: Kent’s Directory, 1771–77. Our Webb, whether or not he was that one, later fell on evil times. He went bankrupt and fled to Switzerland, where he remained in touch with BF and befriended BFB. See in particular his letter of April 15, 1784, APS.
6. Or so we assume. His letters from Switzerland in 1781–84 have signatures that vary slightly but are similar enough to this one to convince us that they are the same; the body of those letters, however, is in a hand that despite some resemblances is quite different from this. He could scarcely have employed a Swiss amanuensis, for he was impoverished. Perhaps his flight changed his writing as drastically as his life.
7. Johann Bartholomäus Rogler (1728–91) was primarily a lexicographer. He had already edited an English-French-German dictionary and was about to bring out another: Theodor Arnolds, A Compleat Vocabulary English and German . . . (Zullichau, 1777).