Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan, 22 September 1751

To William Strahan

ALS: Yale University Library

Philada. Sept. 22. 1751

Dear Sir

My Daughter receiv’d her Books all in good Order, and thanks you for your kind Care in sending them. Enclos’d is a second Bill for £20 Sterling. The first went per Mesnard.

There is a little Book on the Game of Chess, by Philip Stamma, printed for J. Brindley, 1745.8 If to be had, please to send it me; with the Remaining Vols. of Viner as fast as they are publish’d.9

We are all well, and join in affectionate Regards to you, Mrs. Strahan and your Children. I am, Dear Sir, Your obliged humble Servant

B Franklin

Addressed: To  Mr Wm Strahan  Printer  London  per the Whiteoak  Capt. Lyon

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The Noble Game of Chess; or a new and easy method to play well in a short time (London, 1745). The printer James Brindley (d. 1758), of Little Britain and New Bond Street, London, published Henry Pemberton’s View of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophy, 1728 (see above, I, 57 n). On June 20, 1752 (below, p. 323), BF wrote Strahan that he did not need Stamma’s book as David Martin, his “principal Antagonist at Chess,” was dead, “and the few remaining Players here are very indifferent.” BF had learned the game some ten or fifteen years before as a kind of supplement to his study of Italian. Par. Text edit., p. 252.

A photostat of a MS purporting to be the rules of “The Philadelphia Chess Society,” April 24, 1752, is in APS. These rules were taken almost verbatim from BF’s Morals of Chess, and the MS is, as APS recognizes, an unskilful nineteenth-century forgery. See generally, Ralph K. Hagedorn, Benjamin Franklin and Chess in Early America (Phila., 1958).

9BF first ordered Charles Viner’s General Abridgment of Law and Equity, Dec. 6, 1750 (above, p. 78).

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