Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to James Logan, 12 September 1749

To James Logan

ALS (fragment): Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philada. Sept. 12. 49

[First part missing] [Ad]vertisement, by which you will see the Language of the Picts is now under Consideration at home.8 If I had a Copy of what you have wrote on that Subject, I would take Care it should not be lost.9

Please to favour me with the short Account of your Library, contain’d in the Paper I read the other Day at your House, that I may insert it in a Note to the Proposals for an Academy. I am, with great Respect, Sir, Your most obliged humble Servant

B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The advertisement was of Dr. John Free (1711–1791), An Essay towards an History of the English Tongue (London, 1749), the third section or “dissertation” of which was “Of the Pyhtas, corruptly called Picts.” The Essay had greater ethnological than philological interest, and if BF thought it would help him in preparing the curriculum for the academy at Philadelphia (see below, p. 397), he was disappointed. A graduate of Oxford in 1730, Free held various livings and became master of St. Saviour Grammar School, Southwark, 1747. He wrote countless sermons, pamphlets, poems, and lectures; attacked Popery and Methodism; and published an astonishing plan for a free university to be founded in England by the Empress of Russia for all peoples and religions. John Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century (9 vols., London, 1812–15), V, 687–95; IX, 631.

9Nothing more seems to be known about Logan’s writing on the Picts’ language.

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