Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Samuel Vaughan, Jr., with Franklin’s Note for a Reply, 6 March [i.e., April] 1783

From Samuel Vaughan, Jr., with Franklin’s Note for a Reply

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris 6 March [i.e., April], 1783.7

Dear Sir,

I hope you will have the goodness to excuse my not communicating in person the following extract of a letter from my Brother Ben, which I should do with a great deal of pleasure, was it not entirely out of my power from the Business I have at present; &, as the latter part should be communicated early.

“Tell Dr Franklin, with my most affectionate respects, that I thank him for his letter,8 & shall observe to write him by every safe opportunity. I have ordered one of Mr Nairne’s patent machines to be put up for him, which I beg his acceptance of, & intend sending him by the same opportunity, together with his 4to bible.—9 Mr Williams1 may depend upon every attention from me.— I thank the Doctor for his letters for my friends going to America.”

“At the same time that you say these things to Dr Franklin, mention to him the Death of Dr Hunter;2 & the propriety of bringing Dr Priestley forward again, for the vacant seat in the Academy of Sciences.”3

By a letter antecedent to the above, my Brother Ben begs I will request, your honoring Mr John Darby & Mr Grigby with some introductory letters for America.4 Their views are I believe commercial. Mr John Darby is established in London in the Irish linen trade; is our relation & intimate friend, & about whom the family most particularly interest themselves. Your friend Mr Jackson5 is giving him letters of the strongest kind.— The above two gentlemen will, in all likelihood, travel together.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Duke of Chaulnes on Friday; but being indisposed, he cannot promise any particular day, to have the honor of meeting you or Mr Franklin at Mr Hoffmann’s; I have therefore taken the liberty, by this mornings post, of appointing next Thursday,6 at ten oClock to meet Mr Hoffmann at his own lodgings; & the Duke of Chaulnes will have the opportunity of another day, if that does not prove convenient.

With the strongest sentiments of gratitude & respect, I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, Your devoted humble Servt.

Samuel Vaughan Junr.

Addressed: A Son Excellence / Monsieur Franklin, / Ministre Plenipotentiare des Etats / Unis &c &c, / a Passy, / pres de Paris.

Endorsed: To enquire & obtain this Package Ben’s Books

Notation: Samuel Vaughan junior Paris 6 March 1783

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The month must be April, given the date of Hunter’s death and the visit to Hoffmann; see our annotation below.

8Above, [c. March 21].

9Nairne’s “patent electrical machine,” which received its patent in February, 1782, was an improvement on his earlier versions: XX, 433–4n; W. D. Hackman, “The Design of the Triboelectric Generators of Martinus van Marum, F.R.S. A Case History of the Interaction between England and Holland in the Field of Instrument Design in the Eighteenth Century,” Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, XXVI (1971), 178n. It and the Bible were included in the shipment of goods that Vaughan sent in June; see the annotation of Benjamin Vaughan to BF, Feb. 25.

1Jonathan Williams, Sr.

2Dr. William Hunter, the famous anatomist (XVIII, 192), died on March 30: ODNB.

3BF recommended Priestley to the Academy of Sciences at Paris on more than one occasion, but it was not until February, 1784, that he finally became an associé étranger: BF to Richard Price, Aug. 16, 1784 (Smyth, Writings, IX, 255); Institut de France, Index biographique des membres et correspondants de l’Académie des sciences de 1666 à 1939 (Paris, 1939), p. 375.

4Samuel Vaughan obviously did not realize that the “letters for my friends” acknowledged by Benjamin Vaughan in the excerpt quoted earlier referred to Darby and Grigby; see Benjamin Vaughan to BF, Feb. 25. Jay also gave the two men letters of recommendation; they arrived in Philadelphia in July: Morris, Jay: Peace, pp. 568–70; Morris Papers, VII, 682n; VIII, 342, 540; Jay to Livingston, April 8, 1783 (Library of Congress).

5Richard Jackson (V, 148n; XXVI, 108n), whose sister Anne had married into the Darby family: X, 161n. In early April Richard Oswald forwarded a now-missing letter from Jackson to BF: W. A. S. Hewins, ed., The Whitefoord Papers … (Oxford, 1898), p. 186.

6François-Joseph-Ignace Hoffmann (1730–1793) was the inventor of the polytype process (DBF). WTF and Samuel Vaughan, Jr., attended a demonstration on Thursday, April 10, with Faujas de Saint-Fond and others. BF visited Hoffmann two weeks later and had an inscription of his own reproduced by the new process: WTF et al., specimen of polytype printing, April 10, 1783 (University of Pa. Library); BF’s specimen, April 24, below.

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