Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Benjamin Vaughan: Two Letters, 16 June 1783

From Benjamin Vaughan: Two Letters

(I) and (II) ALS: American Philosophical Society


London, June 16, 1783.

My dearest sir,

I beg permission to introduce to your warm civilities, Lord Daer, son of the Earl of Selkirk. He was introduced to me lately as a very valuable & philosophical acquaintance, & my short intercourse with him has confirmed every report I had heard of him. His political principles are well known, & very friendly to us. He means to stay some time at Paris for his instruction & amusement.— As I have no small persuasion that he will be remarkable in life, I have a pleasure in making him known to you, and to my excellent friend your son, to whom he will prove a companion often.

I am, my dearest sir, Your ever affectionate, respectful & grateful,

Benjn. Vaughan

Dr. Franklin.


London, June 16, 1783.

My dearest sir,

I inclose you a paper, which must be in part my apology for not writing to you; and if Ld. Daer stays a day longer, I shall be able to send the sequel.—9 A farther reason why neither Mr Oswald nor myself have written to you, was that we saw no good we could do, and therefore we avoided doing harm.— A third reason was, that there was a personage at Paris concerning whom there were difficulties; which reason if you do not understand by these few words, I must let it rest till we meet.

I have no news to send you. I believe ministers have at last got over the idea of the loyal colonies being sufficient to supply the West Indies; and have prepared an act for an intercourse with the other colonies.— I make no remarks, because they can do no good; and I love the public too well to think of serving my friends in your opinion, at its expence.

Had not my hands been tied by these circumstances, I should much oftener have written, & even sent you expresses, had there been occasion.

My father’s departure, and hourly consultations with me, and the solicitations I make by person or letter for my brother John, with the above letter, & my own concerns, have worne me down so much, that I have not spirits to write you a long letter, and yet I have abundance of matter.— I must therefore again beg a respite till the next opportunity.— After this week, & some time in the course of the next, the family embark;1 and then I shall be myself again.

I am every day however thinking of something or other we shall do together, when you come to London with your son.

I am, my dearest sir, Your most devoted affectionate & grateful

Benjn. Vaughan

I send your son a pair of buckles & a whimsical purse; and Mr Jay a watch chain, by Ld. Daer.

There is a pocket globe & a pocket glass in the box containing the miscellaneous articles for different persons, which globe & glass are directed to Mr Whitefoord, but are a present from Mr Oswald to Mr Faujas de St. Fond; & are to be forwarded to the Duke of Chaulnes, after stripping off the cover to Mr Whitefoord.2

You will receive a pamphlet of Mr Sinclairs; another relative to the Colony trade & the Loyal colonies (said by some to be written by Lord Sheffield & Mr Eden;) and Sr. John Pringle’s discourses before the Royal Society.—3 When I asked Dr. Priestley after other things to send you, he named our Coalition prints,4 with which the shops swarm. Though I dislike the subject, I have desired my brother John to choose some prints of a political nature, of which I dare say these will make a part.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9On Monday, June 16, the Public Advertiser carried the first part of a pamphlet-length article arguing for free trade entitled “Upon the American Commerce, and Commerce in General” and signed “A By-Stander.” The paper had announced on June 14 that the piece would appear that Monday, and several days earlier Vaughan himself had alerted BF to the fact that he would soon send a “Bystander”; see his unsigned postscript to John Vaughan’s letter of June 10. It seems that Vaughan had not yet finished the article at the time of writing the present letter. When the continuation was published on June 18, the editor appended a note explaining that he could not follow the writer’s directions and publish the entire conclusion in that issue because the last part of the copy had been “withheld to so late an Hour.” The third and final installment appeared on June 19.

1See Samuel Vaughan to BF, June 14.

2For the four boxes that had just arrived at Calais see Dessin to BF, June 15. Oswald believed the articles to have been shipped long before this: on April 5 he wrote Whitefoord that he had sent a “small Globe and Lunette for Monsr Fuzas” a month earlier, by way of a friend of Vaughan’s: W. A. S. Hewins, ed., The Whitefoord Papers … (Oxford, 1898), p. 186.

3The first two pamphlets are Sir John Sinclair, Lucubrations During a Short Recess (London, 1782), and John Baker Holroyd, Baron Sheffield, Observations on the Commerce of the American States … (London, 1783). The third work was compiled by Andrew Kippis, to whom Pringle had given permission to publish a collection of his discourses after his death. Kippis added to these a hundred-page biography of his friend in Six Discourses, Delivered by Sir John Pringle, Bart. When President of the Royal Society; … To Which Is Prefixed the Life of the Author (London, 1783).

4Which doubtless commented on the coalition between Fox and North.

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