Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from William Hodgson, 24 June 1783

From William Hodgson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London 24 June 1783

Dear sir

I beg leave to introduce to your Notice & Civilities the Bearer Seward Esqr & his Friend Mr Graves, they are Gentlemen of Fortune & Letters going to France for their Pleasure, not the least of which will be that of paying their respects to you.1 Mr Seward is a Member of our old Club2 & well known to most of your Friends here, every attention you shall pay him will be pleasing to them & particularly so, to Dear sir Your much obliged Hble Servt

William Hodgson

To His Excellency Benj Franklin Esqr

1William Seward, F.R.S., who circulated among London’s literary elites and is best known for the anecdotes he collected, was traveling on the Continent with his friend Richard Graves the younger (DNB, under both names). This seems to be their only appearance in BF’s papers. Seward later published the following anecdote: “The sagacious Dr. Franklin used to say, that the purest and most useful friend a man could possibly procure, was a Frenchwoman of a certain age who had no designs upon his person; ‘they are,’ added he, ‘so ready to do you service, and from their knowledge of the world know so well how to serve you wisely.’” [William Seward], Anecdotes of Distinguished Persons … (4th ed., 4 vols., London, 1798), IV, 223n.

2The Club of Thirteen (XXI, 119–20). Both Hodgson and Seward were members: J. Dybikowski, On Burning Ground: an Examination of the Ideas, Projects and Life of David Williams (Oxford, 1993), pp. 273, 275.

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