Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from George Scott, 20 April 1780

From George Scott

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Naples 20th. April 1780


I arrived here safe on the Evening of the 13th. Currt. after a very dilatory & tedious Journey. On leaving Paris Monsr. L’Abbé Rozier happend to be one of the Company in the Coach & was particularly civil to me. He went no further than Lyons. Here I took the Coch D’Eau for Avignion, a great number in the Boat amongst the number the Marquis de Clugny shewed me great civillities, he was going to Toulon, & from thence to join his Regiment on Corsica. From Avignion I hired a Chaize for Marseilles: was 3 days upon the Road. Staid 4 Days at Marseilles & then went on board a Genoese Vessell departing for Naples—On this Vessell we were a month before we made Civita Vecchia, here staid a few days & hired a Chaize for Rome staid here 5 or 6 Days to see Curiosities & then hired a Chaize for this place & was 4 Days on the road— This is a very good Town & living reasonable.

I have been very kindly received by Sir Wm. Hamilton5 who has treated me with all possible affabillity & yesterday delivered my Memorial to the Minister of State6 & he will enforce it with all his power. I don’t yet know the event.

On my arrival here a Letter met me from our excellent friend Dr. P——; he desires me when I have the pleasure to see you again to deliver a message to you but as that is rather uncertain I have resolved to transmit you a copy of the whole letter here enclosed.7 When I shall leave this place is at present uncertain. We have very warm weather, in short it is summer. Roads dusty & Sultry. Vegitables very forward & in very great plenty of all kinds— Very fine sallading Cabbages, Colliflowers, Green pease, Beans, Asparagus, Artichokes &c in abundance & very good Shambles Meat of all kinds, & plenty of Poultry & Fish— In passing thro’ this Kingdom I percieved the Corn very forward. I saw many hundreds of Acres of Wheat with the ears fully shot. Grass is forward also. I desire my best compliments to Mr. Franklin Junr. & believe me to be with great sincerity & regard Dr Sir Your Mo: Obedt. Servant

Geo: Scott

We have wine both Red & White in great plenty & tollerably reasonable. I pay 6 Grains for a paris bottle & this is near 5 sous french money, but then I take a dozen together. In Taverns they charge 15 Grains.8

Dr. Franklin

Addressed: The Honourable / Benj: Franklin Esqr. / Passy / J.H. Myers

Notation: Scott, Naples 20. april 1780.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5British envoy to the Court of Naples: XX, 78n. For his residence there during the American Revolution see Brian Fothergill, Sir William Hamilton: Envoy Extraordinary (London, 1969), pp. 134–7.

6Sir John Francis Edward Acton (1736–1811), a political ally of Hamilton. Of English extraction, Acton came to Naples in 1778 to reorganize the navy. A favorite of Queen Maria Carolina, he rapidly advanced to become prime minister. DNB; Fothergill, Hamilton, p. 176. Scott’s memorial may have had to do with his trading ventures.

7The enclosed letter, whose date (except for the year) is obscured by a tear in the manuscript, was from Joseph Priestley: Scott to BF, May 13, below. He thanks Scott for delivering two letters (as yet unanswered). Will Scott present his respects to their friend when he sees him and inform him that his letter (probably BF’s of Feb. 8: XXXI, 455–7) was satisfactory? His greatest wish is to see him ambassador to England from the “free states of America.” APS.

8The Neapolitan monetary unit was the ducat, containing 100 grani: Franz Pick-René Sédillot, All the Monies of the World … (New York, 1971), p. 348. There were 20 sous in an l.t. BF had recently paid 150 l.t. for a cask (approximately 110 gallons) of burgundy: XXX, 632n; Ronald Edward Zupko, A Dictionary of English Weights and Measures … (Madison, Milwaukee, and London, 1968), p. 33.

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