Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from George Whitefield, 26 November 1740

From George Whitefield7

MS not found; reprinted from A Select Collection of Letters of the late George Whitefield, M.A.... (London, 1772), I, 226.

Reedy-Island, Nov. 26, 1740

Dear Mr. F[ranklin],

I thank you for your letter.8 You may print my life, as you desire.9 God willing, I shall correct my two volumes of sermons, and send them the very first opportunity.1 Pray write to me by every ship, that goes shortly to Charles-Town.

I shall embark for England, God willing, about February. I desire I may hear from you there also, as often as possible. I have prefaced Jenks,2 and Presumptuous sinners detected.3 Mr. Bradford has the last, because he said he was to print it. You may have it of him. The Ornaments of the daughter of Sion,4 you may have hereafter. Dear Sir, Adieu. I do not despair of your seeing the reasonableness of Christianity. Apply to God; be willing to do the divine will, and you shall know it. I have heard from Mr. S-----;5 all is well. To-day several friends have taken leave of me at this place, waiting for a fair wind in order to embark for Georgia. I think I have been on shore 73 days,6 and have been enabled to travel upwards of 800 miles, and to preach 170 times, besides very frequent exhortations at private houses. I have collected, in goods and money, upwards of £700 sterling, for the Orphan-house; blessed be God! Great and visible are the fruits of my late, as well as former feeble labours, and people in general seem more eager after the word than ever. O the love of God to Your unworthy friend,

G. W.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7On Whitefield, see above, p. 241 n.

8Not found.

9A Brief and General Account Of the First Part of the Life Of the Reverend Mr. Geo. Whitefield, From his Birth, to his Entering into Holy Orders. Written by Himself. Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by B. Franklin, in Market-Street. M,DCC,XL.

1As early as Nov. 15, 1739, BF had announced his intention to print Whitefield’s sermons and journals; the first volume of each appeared May 26, 1740, and the second, August 18. See above, p. 242, and below, pp. 286 and 289.

2Probably Benjamin Jenks (1646–1724), whose Prayers, and Offices of Devotion, first published in 1707, went through more than twenty editions in the eighteenth century. BF did not print it, however, and Whitefield’s preface has not been found. DNB.

3Gilbert Tennent, A Solemn Warning to the Secure World ... or the Presumptuous Sinner Detected (Phila., 1740), had been published at Boston in 1735.

4Probably Cotton Mather’s Ornaments for the Daughters of Zion, first published at Boston in 1691; a third edition appeared there in 1741, possibly after BF declined to print it.

5William Seward, who had returned to England. Whitefield could not have heard of his death on October 22. See above, p. 257 n.

6Whitefield had landed at Newport, R. I., September 14. He reached Savannah December 13, and sailed for England January 16, 1741.

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