Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Benjamin Waterhouse, 18 January 1781

To Benjamin Waterhouse

AL (draft) and copy: Library of Congress

Passy, Jan. 18. 1781


I received your obliging Letter of the 16th past,5 enclosing one from my dear Friend Dr Fothergill. I was happy to hear from him, that he was quite free of the Disorder that had like to have remov’d him last Summer: But I had soon after a Letter from another Friend acquainting me that he was again dangerously ill of the same Malady; and the Newspapers have since announced his Death!—6 I condole with you most sincerely on this Occasion. I think a worthier Man never lived: For besides his constant Readiness to serve his Friends, he was always studying and projecting something for the Good of his Country and of Mankind in general, and putting others, who had it in their Power, on executing what was out of his own reach; but whatever was within it he took care to do himself; and his incredible Industry & unwearied Activity enabled him to do much more than can now be ever known, his Modesty being equal to his other Virtues.

I shall take Care to forward his Letter to Mr Pemberton. Enclos’d is one I have just receiv’d under Cover from that Gentleman.7 You will take Care to convey it by some safe Opportunity to London.

With hearty Wishes for your Prosperity & Success in your Profession, and that you may be a good Copy of your deceas’d Relation, I am, Sir, Your &c

Dr Benjamin Waterhouse an American at Leiden8

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Dec. 16, 1780, above.

6Probably Richard Price’s letter of Dec. 22, above. The London Courant, and Westminster Chronicle reported on Monday, Jan. 8, that Fothergill’s remains had been carried to the Quaker burial ground at Winchmore Hill the previous Friday.

7The Philadelphia Quaker James Pemberton in October had asked BF to forward a letter to Fothergill: XXXIII, 414–15.

8The letter was forwarded to Leyden in a packet of other correspondence; see the preceding document.

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