Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Bond, 24 September 1779

From Thomas Bond8

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia Septemr. 24. 1779

Dear Sir

The Departure of your very worthy & very Sensible Friend, the Sieur Gerard affords me an Opportunity of telling you, that your Thursday Night Associates had the Pleasure of hearing from Mr. Joseph Wharton of your Health & affectionate Remembrance of them, who also told us we might Expect to See You again amongst Us, an event which would give us the highest Satisfaction.9 Luke Morris Says we cannot do without You & that you must Come. Hugh Roberts desires me to tell you he is become Old, or he would Write to you, he does not concern himself with Public Affairs, he is So much Engaged in Monthly Meeting, Committees & Setting Negroes free, he Scarcely goes to the Point twice a Year, and is become a real Philosopher.1 Phil Syng2 is well. S. Roads3 is a good Whig & Sends his love to You. Poor Israel4 is no more; his loss to the Quakers is Great; there is a great Revolution among us, the Great are become little, & little Great; The Poor are the happiest People Among us.5 Our Poor house & Hospitals are almost untenanted. I can Scarce Support my Clinical Lectures in the latter, without hiring the Sick to go into it: And shall be Obliged to give up my Demonstrations of MidWifery, for Want of Subjects in the lying in Wards. Mr. Gerard was elected a fellow of the American Philosophical Society. We presented him with an elegant Certificate, & a Volume of the Transactions neatly & emblematically bound with which he Seemed Pleased.6 From Seeing the many Objections yet made to Inoculation especially in France, a Country I love, I wrote an Essay in Defence of it, & presented it to my Kind Friend the Minister, who will Shew it to You,7 I am Certain the Contents of it are important; but I fear it is incorrect, being wrote in haste under perpetual Interruptions of Business, I therefore beg you to give it a friendly reading &ca.

When General Howe came to the Banks of the Delaware I Sent my Family with good Mrs. Venables8 to Allentown near Bethlehem, where they remained very Conveniently for two Years. I am now happy with Mrs. Bond & my Grand Children about me. Mrs. Martin & her two Children9 are in Burlington; they all present their Love to You. I hope the Prospect of a more frequent literary Correspondence betwixt us & Europe brightens, & that we shall be Soon again furnished with the Improvements & Publications of the learned World, Which we Should be extremely Obliged to them & You, for I am dear Sir Your very affectionate humble Servt.

Th Bond.

Notation: Th: Bond 24 Sept 79

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Bond, an old associate of BF’s, was an original member of the APS, a trustee of the College of Philadelphia, and a principal founder of the Pennsylvania Hospital.

9The “Thursday Night Associates” might be an informal continuation of the Junto. That club initially had met on Fridays: Autobiog., p. 116.

1Luke Morris and Hugh Roberts were early members of BF’s Union Fire Company. Roberts had a country place at “the Point” (or Point-No-Point) near where Frankford Creek joins the Delaware. Information kindly supplied by Whitfield J. Bell, Jr.

2A former member of the Junto and Union Fire Company, as well as ex-treasurer of the APS.

3The builder who had supervised construction of BF’s house.

4Israel Pemberton, Jr., a charter member of the Library Company, manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital, and member of the APS, died on April 22, 1779: DAB.

5The “great Revolution” was the seizure of political control over the city by the Radical Party. By an almost ten to one margin they won an Aug. 2 general election of a 120-member committee on price regulations and set about limiting the amount of money in circulation. Meanwhile the radicals laid plans to ship to New York the wives and children of Loyalists in exile: Robert L. Brunhouse, The Counter-Revolution in Pennsylvania 1776–1790 (Harrisburg, 1942), pp. 72–5.

6He was elected on April 16, 1779. The certificate and bound volume of the APS Transactions with which he was subsequently presented cost the society $36 (undoubtedly specie dollars): Meng, Despatches of Gérard, p. 645n.

7A translation was published as Défense de l’inoculation, et relation des progrès qu’elle a fait à Philadelphie en 1758 (Strasbourg, 1784). It was also translated into German: Elizabeth H. Thomson, “Thomas Bond, 1713–84: First Professor of Clinical Medicine in the American Colonies,” Journal of Medical Education, XXXIII (1958), 614–24.

8A relative of Thomas and Sarah Bond; see XXVI, 590n.

9Elizabeth Bond Martin (b. 1736) was Bond’s daughter by his first wife. She married Dr. John Martin of Maryland in 1765 and had two children, Susan and William Bond Martin. Information kindly supplied by Dr. Bell.

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