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All that part of Creation that lies within our observation is liable to Change. Even mighty States and kingdoms, are not exempted. If we look into History we shall find some nations rising from contemp­ tible beginnings, and spreading their influence, ’till the whole Globe is subjected to their sway. When they have reach’d the summit of Grandeur, some minute and unsuspected Cause commonly...
Continued November 30. 1804. In my own class at Collidge, there were several others, for whom I had a strong affection—Wentworth, Brown, Livingston, Sewall and Dalton all of whom have been eminent in Life, excepting Livingston an amiable and ingenious Youth who died within a Year or two after his first degree. In the Class before me I had several Friends, Treadwell the greatest Schollar, of my...
3[Parents and Boyhood] (Adams Papers)
My Father married Susanna Boylston in October 1734, and on the 19th of October 1735 I was born. As my Parents were both fond of reading, and my father had destined his first born, long before his birth to a public Education I was very early taught to read at home and at a School of Mrs. Belcher the Mother of Deacon Moses Belcher, who lived in the next house on the opposite side of the Road. I...
Wilson’s attack on Franklin in 1773, in Observations upon Lightning , had produced a rebuttal from William Henly before the Royal Society. Wilson counterattacked and, when the Society declined to publish his paper, printed it as a second pamphlet, Further Observations upon Lightning; Together with Some Experiments … (London, 1774). He sent Franklin a presentation copy, dated on the title page...
AD : Library of Congress On January 29 Chatham left with Franklin the conciliatory plan that he introduced as a bill in the House of Lords three days later, and the American studied and copied it. At the end of his copy is the following memorandum on the rejection of the bill. The above Plan was offered by the Earl of Chatham to the House of Lords, on Wednesday Feb. 1. 1775, under the Title of...
ALS (incomplete): Yale University Library This fragment is now bound, in a volume of Franklin’s correspondence with Shipley, as a postscript to the Bishop’s holograph copy of his letter below at the end of June, 1775. But the paper is larger than that of the copy; it has been folded, as the copy has not; and it is addressed and has the remnants of a seal. The conclusion is inescapable that it...
ALS (incomplete): American Philosophical Society [ Missing ] ourselves without making Mr. W—s experiment. But to be serious; unluckily for that Gentleman I have drawn no conclusion from his favourite experiment, except it be this, that a point will not invite a stroke of lightning upon it, at 12 times the distance of a knob. The chains happen’d to be both of the same wire, and length. Whoever...
Printed form with MS insertions in blanks: American Philosophical Society Vous étes prié, de la part de Monsieur le Curé & de Madame Le Veillard , Trésoriere des Pauvres, de vous trouver à l’Assemblée de Charité qui se tiendra dans l’Eglise Royale & Paroissiale de Notre-Dame-de-Graces de Passy, à l’issue des Vépres, Dimanche prochain 5 7bre 1779 Il y aura Prédication, par mr L’abbé gautier...
Reprinted from The Columbian Magazine , I (December, 1786), 159–61; incomplete copy: American Philosophical Society Franklin and chess have long been associated in the popular mind largely because of this bagatelle, which was the most widely reprinted product of his Passy press. Made public for the first time in 1786, it would be reprinted at least a dozen times by the end of the century, and...
ALS : American Philosophical Society The condescending respect with which Your Excellency hath in repeated Instances regarded me and mine is matter of gratful contemplation. Permit us to look with sincerest Veneration to the Man distinguish’d amongst a glorious Band of firm Characters: who sustain’d by divine Providence, have thus farr, form’d and Fostered the Rising world of Freedom. May...
You must give me leave to return you the inclosed, as I have laid aside the distressing trade of receiving money for serving my friends. the pleasure of doing them an acceptable office is the richest reward which can be conferred on me, and I never think them ungenerous but when they decline giving me an opportunity of proving this. the late occasion too was peculiarly sacred. the packet to...
ALS : American Philosophical Society The Bearer is Baron Steieben of whome I had the honor to write to you by the hands of a Friend about a month since. He is a Gentleman of Family, Merit and great experience, well known to some of the First Personages in Europe, and hereby gives you sir a strong proof of his Ambition to make the Acquaintance of Doctor Franklin in actualy performing a Journey...
It is with the utmost chagrin I am obliged to inform you, that I am not able to return you all your pamph[l]ets; and what is still worse the most valuable of them is missing. I beg you will not impute it to carelessness; for I assure you upon my honor the true state of the case is this—I put your pamphlets in the case with my other books; and some person about the College got into my room...
AD : American Philosophical Society These two notes for borrowers from the Library Company demarcated the sheep from the goats. The sheep, who were the members, promised to pay for books not returned on time and in good condition; the goats put down a refundable deposit. The requirement of a promissory note from a member went back at least to 1732, and a note to accompany a nonmember’s deposit...
Incomplete draft: American Philosophical Society Illustrissimo Signor Signor Padrone mio Colendissimo. A quest’ora avrete ricevuto risposta alle vostre direttavi per mezzo [ blank in MS ] riceverete anche questa per l’istesso canale, e potrete rispondermi per il medesimo; che così La spesa sarà tutta addosso a me, e riceverò lettere sicuramente; perciocchè le due penultime vostre hanno tardato,...
16Memorandum Book, 1757–1776 (Franklin Papers)
MS account book: American Philosophical Society [April 3, 1757] Before leaving for England Franklin provided his wife with a long, narrow account book in which she was to record her expenditures during his absence. She made the first entry on April 3, even before he had gone. But later, like many wives—and husbands too—she was far from meticulous in recording everything she spent. There are...
MS account books: American Philosophical Society December 10, 1764 As Franklin had done when he went to England in 1757, he began a new record of his financial transactions when he started his second mission in 1764. Probably the new record consisted at first of a series of rather informal entries such as those in his “Account of Expences,” 1757–1762, described above, VII , 164–5, and cited...
Richard Henry Lee’s famous resolution of June 7, 1776, called for independence and confederation. Congress considered the resolution the next day, and on the 11th and 12th appointed a committee to draw up articles of confederation. The committee’s report, commonly called the Dickinson draft after its chief architect, was presented on July 12. It was printed for the delegates, and...
Draft: American Philosophical Society I have perus’d the Letters and Papers you put into my Hands, and shall, as you desire, say what occurs to me on the considering them. I do not know Mr. Murdoch personally, but have heard that he is a Person of Credit and some Note in that Country, and esteemed by the People there. I imagine that little is to be expected from a Suit of Law, to be carried on...
Draft: American Philosophical Society Obviously written in England, this document cannot otherwise be certainly dated. Apparently Franklin contemplated having an English architect prepare plans for a “model home” in Philadelphia suitable for “Tradesmen and People of moderate Circumstances.” His description of the land on which it was to be built most nearly fits the lot on the north side of...
MS and printed cards: American Philosophical Society [1757–1775] Among Franklin’s surviving papers is a collection of personal visiting cards (or “visiting tickets” as they appear to have been called) and business cards of tradesmen and others. Some of the personal cards are handwritten, as is one of Franklin’s own after he received his doctorate; others are printed or engraved, and...
AL (fragment): Historical Society of Pennsylvania [ First part missing ] Franklyn for the Favor of his Invitation, sho’d have answer’d his Card sooner but has been kept at Westminster the whole Day, begs Leave now to say, that He will wait on the Doctor, and in the mean Time begs his Acceptance of his most respectful Compliments. The writer has not been identified, though the handwriting bears...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. Fitzgerald and Dr. Morton’s Compliments to Dr. Franklyn, and if it be agreable, purpose to wait upon Him on Friday even next, about 6 o’clock, with 2 Ladies. Addressed: To / Benjamn. Franklyn / Esqr. Dr. of Laws. / Craven Street The first of these men may have been Keane Fitz Gerald, or Fitzgerald, of Poland St., London, F.R.S., 1756, who contributed...
ALS (draft): Blumhaven Library (1957) I have perus’d the Parts you put into my Hands of the new Work on Commerce, &c. and must own myself extreamly pleas’d with it. It is a most valuable Collection of Facts which I should think every one in Britain, Ireland and the Colonies who has any thing to do with Publick Affairs, or is desirous of understanding that very interesting Subject, would gladly...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I [hope you] will not be angrey at my writing b [ missing ] me, I know you ar Intament with mr. St[rahan] [ missing ] god will kepe me in my troubell but k [ missing ] e to help myself the least thing Cant dres now [ missing ] [ with ] out help, If mr. troauen will be so Cind as to [ missing ] for to Ogment my salery I am told it is great [ly?] in his pour,...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I hop you will pardin my fredom in writin to you, should be glad to have waited on you but never shall see you moer so bad with the stoan not abell to goe to the hall for my penshon but the treasourer is so Cind as to send it god reward him for it, I had a long winter never been out tell march with my breth nor abell to go to bed know mor then a child, and...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I hop you will pardon the fredom I have takeen, I have been to the bishop’s palies at lamboth to see for the old Cook that did Lieve with the late bishop, but to my mortifycasion am Desieved she is gon, I went to see If I Could have got my daughter to been under for som tiem to had som Experence in the Chiken bisnes it would have been of great servies to...
ALS : Frank Glenn, Kansas City, Missouri (1955) I used to put two Ounces of Bark finely powdered into a Bottle of Wine, and let it stand 24 Hours, in which time it will have given to the Wine a sufficient Quantity of its Virtue, and the Powder itself will be pretty well subsided. When I had drank two or three Glasses out of the Bottle, I used to fill it up with fresh Wine, because the Bark...
Printed card with MS insertions: Historical Society of Pennsylvania Takes the Liberty to inform Dr. Franklin and friends that he has Three very large and Capital Pictures just arrived, and to be seen at an empty House, almost opposite the Cocoa Tree, Pall Mall , from Ten in the Morning till Three o’Clock. On John Greenwood, Boston-born painter and art dealer, who moved from Amsterdam to London...
AL : American Philosophical Society None of the following notes can be dated with precision; it is possible that some may have been written during BF ’s first mission, while others may have been composed as late as 1775. They are placed here because they seem to the editors to belong to the second mission, and in accordance with editorial practice because this is the earliest year in which...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. Cooper presents his Compliments to Dr. Franklin and returns him many thanks for the honor of his obliging Enquiries. Addressed: Dr. Frankln’s For Grey Cooper, M.P., 1765–84; secretary to the Treasury, 1765–82; see above, X , 182 n.
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. and Mrs. Mead’s Compliments to Mrs. Stephinson, and Doctor Franklin, and are sorry the day the Doctor was at leisure to have done them the favour of a Visit, did not fall out, to have accepted it; They hope the first convenient time the Doctor hath, he will; and that Mrs. Stephenson will be so good to bring the young Gentleman she mentioned! Mr. and Mrs....
ALS : American Philosophical Society Govr. Pownall presents his Compliments to Mr. Franklin and shou’d be very glad to the favour of his company to Dinner to Day. If he is engaged Govr. Pownall shou’d be very glad to see him any Part of this Evening if not otherwise engaged. [ Memo in Franklin’s hand: ] Forts. and Indian Expenses. Ministers make an impossible Act and run mad that it will not...
ALS : American Philosophical Society If you have nothing better to do will you be so good to call on me this Morning and take a Family Dinner with us. I would call on you but having the symptoms of a great Minister strong upon by name the Gout I am not able to walk. I wish much to see you. Your friend and Servant Addressed: To / B Franklin Esqr / &c William Pitt, a famous sufferer from the...
AL : American Philosophical Society Govr. Pownall presents his Compliments to Dr. Franklin finds he shall necessarily be detained at home here to too late an hour for breakfasting with Dr. Franklin. But will if not inconvenient call upon him about eleven. Addressed: Dr Franklin / at Mrs Stevenson’s / Craven Street/ Strand
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. Strahan presents his best Compliments to Dr. Franklin, and begs he would send the Letter by the Bearer. This note might have been written at any time when BF was in London after he had received his honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in February 1759. It is possible that the letter Strahan referred to was one of BF ’s communications to...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. and Mrs. Strahan present their Compliments to Dr. Franklin and the Ladies, and conceiving it may be more agreeable and convenient for them, will not dine till three o’Clock to day. Addressed: To / Dr. Franklin / or / Mrs. Stevenson Apparently “the Ladies” were Mrs. Stevenson and her daughter Mary (Polly), if the note was written before the latter’s...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. and Mrs. Wood present their Compliments to Dr. Frankland and beg the favour of his Company to dinner to morrow at three o’ Clock. An undated note from Mrs. Stevenson of about 1767–70 mentions a Mr. Wood who called while BF was away from Craven Street for a few days. The caller told her that BF knew where he lodged and that they had seen each other in...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mrs. French thinks it long since she had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Frankin, called at his house to desire the favor of his Company to dinner tomorrow to meet Mr. Payne to play at Chess till half an hour after 7 o’ [ clock ]. Will be happy to see him as [early?] in the Morning as is agreeable. Addressed: To. Dr. Franklin For BF ’s old friend see above, XVIII...
AD : American Philosophical Society Among Franklin’s papers are two sheets on which he entered notes about three acts of Parliament. One sheet, written on both sides, is badly torn at the top and down one edge. The other, of which he used only one side and which is in better condition, is a continuation of the first. The acts in which he was interested had granted to areas not previously...
AL : American Philosophical Society Sir J Pringle’s Compliments to Dr. Franklin and acquaints him that he now recollects that the gentleman from Geneva was not to call till 8 o’cl this evening and therefore begs that if Dr. F. is not engaged he would favour with his company, in order to gratify that learned gentleman. Also, that Dr. F. would further oblige him by eating with him tomorrow his...
ALS : American Philosophical Society The letters that follow we have found impossible to date. All of them, presumably, were written after Polly Stevenson’s marriage in 1770, when Dolly began to pay Franklin more attention than before “tho not more than I have always been prompted from affection to Pay.” Prior to the wedding no correspondence exists between them, or at least none that can be...
AL : American Philosophical Society <Jermyn Street, Wednesday morning, in the third person. Invites Franklin to dinner next Monday. > BF ’s friendship with the Shipleys appears to have begun in 1771, and we are therefore printing the invitation under the earliest likely date.
Copy: Library of Congress; copy: American Philosophical Society It has been demonstrated that Franklin did not, as William Temple Franklin asserted and subsequent editors believed, write this dialogue shortly after arriving in France in 1776, but shortly before leaving England in 1775. If he began it considerably earlier, as seems likely, it must have been in a quite different vein; for he...
AD: British Museum The presence of this fragment among the papers of Caleb Whitefoord in the British Museum indicates that it was part of a letter to the Public Advertiser that was never published. Henry Woodfall, the printer, frequently sent such material for Whitefoord’s inspection; and in this case the manuscript seems to have gone no further. When it was written, why it was suppressed, and...
AD : American Philosophical Society These two scraps of Franklin’s ongoing argument for the colonies appear to be directed at the British public, although no trace of either one has been found in the newspapers of the period. The first fragment is divided into two parts by a gap in the manuscript; the initial paragraph might have been written at any time, but the second implies that...
AD : Library of Congress The background of this request has already been discussed in connection with the document to which it was attached, Franklin’s indictment of Lord Hillsborough in 1772 for preventing colonial petitions from reaching the throne. At some later point he decided, for reasons given here, to publish the indictment redirected at Lord Dartmouth, and then reversed his decision;...
AD (draft): Library of Congress These notes are impossible to date. At the head of the sheet a line in another hand has been crossed out; it seems to read “Mde. D’Ardonviller,” who means nothing to us. Franklin’s reference in his notation to the “old” intention suggests that he was writing long after the comment that he cites by the Attorney General; but the reference at least determines the...
AL (draft): American Philosophical Society Unsolved problems in editing, as in other areas of historical research, are frustrating out of all proportion to their significance; and this short draft is a case in point. Why Franklin wrote it is clear enough: to enable a French teacher, whose English was inadequate for the purpose, to enlist influential help in obtaining redress from the Warden of...
Upon our Return to Massachusetts, I found myself elected by the Town of Braintree into the provincial Congress, and attended that Service as long as it sat. About this time, Drapers Paper in Boston swarmed with Writers, and among an immense quantity of meaner productions appeared a Writer under the Signature of Massachusettensis, suspected but never that I knew ascertained to be written by two...