Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Smith, 18 April 1754

To William Smith

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philada. April 18. 1754

Dear Sir

I have had but one Line from you since your Arrival in England, which was a short one, via Boston, dated October 18. acquainting me you had wrote largely by Davis.6 Davis was lost, and with him your Letters, to my great Disappointment. Mesnard and Gibbon are since arriv’d here, and I hear nothing from you; which I should tell you chagrins me not a little, were I not asham’d to own to my Pupil, that I do not always practise the Philosophy I endeavour’d to teach him. My Comfort is, an Imagination that you only omit Writing because you are Coming, and purpose to tell me every thing vivâ voce. So not knowing whether this Letter will reach you, and hoping either to see you or hear from you by the Myrtilla, Budden’s Ship, which is daily expected,7 I only add that I am, with great Esteem and Affection, Dear Sir, Your most humble Servant

B Franklin

Mr. Smith

Endorsed: B. Franklin Esqr April 18, 1754

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Smith’s October 18 letter not found; on Davis see above, p. 188.

7The Myrtilla arrived April 29, but Smith did not reach Philadelphia until May 22 or 23. Horace W. Smith, Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William Smith, D.D. (Phila., 1880), I, 44–5, says Smith came on the Falcon, landing May 22; but no vessel of that name is reported entering Philadelphia then. Smith himself was expecting in January (see above, p. 190) to come by the London, which reached Philadelphia May 23. Smith’s journal, written after the events described, is sometimes inaccurate; and his biographer may have misread the manuscript “London” as “Falcon.”

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