Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Johnson, 13 December 1753

To Samuel Johnson

ALS: Henry S. McNeil, Plymouth Meeting, Pa. (1962)

Philada. Dec. 13. 1753

Dear Sir,

I received your Favour of the 5th Inst. and thank you for your kind Congratulations.8 I wrote to you sometime since, and sent you a Dozen of the best bound Books;9 the Parcel was recommended to the Care of Mr. Stuyvesandt at New York: I wonder it is not yet got to hand. I wish I could with Truth give you a good Account of the Sale of those excellent Pieces of yours; but where the general Taste is bad, the best Work comes to the worst Market.10 I wish the enclos’d were better worth your Acceptance.11 I know nothing of that Mr. Chandler you mention,12 having never seen him either at Newhaven or here; and must therefore desire a little of your Care in that Matter. My best Respects to Mrs. Johnson and your Sons, &c. I am with the greatest Esteem, Dear Sir, Your obliged humble Servant

B Franklin

Rev. Dr. Johnson

Endorsed: Doctr. Benjn. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Johnson’s letter not found. His congratulations were probably upon BF’s honorary degree at Yale in the previous September.

9See above, p. 81. The reference is to Johnson’s Noetica.

10See below, p. 260, for BF’s further comments on the slow sales of the Noetica.

11The gift may have been Poor Richard improved for 1754 or his Supplemental Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Part II, published in London the previous March. See above, IV, 458. Johnson had asked for a copy of the original work in January 1752. See above, IV, 262.

12Probably Johnson’s former student Rev. Thomas Bradbury Chandler, rector of St. John’s Church in Elizabeth, N.J., to whom BF had once considered offering a position in the Philadelphia Academy. See above, IV, 72. “That Matter” in which BF desired Johnson’s care has not been identified.

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