Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jared Eliot, 31 August 1755

To Jared Eliot

ALS: Yale University Library

Philada. Augt. 31. 1755

Dear Friend

I have been employ’d almost all this Summer in the Service of our unfortunate Army, and other publick Affairs, that have brought me greatly in Arrear with my Correspondents. I have lost the Pleasure of conversing with them, and I have lost my Labour: I wish these were the only Losses of the Year: But we have lost a Number of brave Men, and all our Credit with the Indians; and I fear these Losses may soon be productive of more and greater.

I have had no Opportunity of making the Enquiry you desired1 relating to Leonard. Somerset County in Maryland is 150 Miles from hence, and out of the common Road of Travellers or the Post, nor have I any Correspondent or Acquaintance there. But now, while I am writing, I recollect a Friend I have at Newtown within 50 Miles of Somerset, who has a very general Knowledge of those Parts and of the People, as he practises the Law in all the Counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland:2 I will immediately write to him about it.

I am sorry your Newspapers miscarry. If your Riders are not more careful, I must order them to be changed.

The Mitchel who made the Map, is our Dr. Mitchel. I send you one of Evans’s New Maps, which I imagine will be agreable to you.3 Please to accept it.

I am glad to hear your Son has acquir’d the true Art of Making Steel.4 I hope it will prove profitable.

Mr. Roberts is pleas’d that you so kindly accept his Fork and Rake.5 I suppose he will write to you: but he is a Man of much Business, and does not love Writing; I shall learn once more (for he told me once and I have forgot it) how those Teeth are put in, and send you word; But perhaps our Friend Bartram6 can tell you. He delivers you this, and I need not recommend him to you, for you are already acquainted with his Merit tho’ not with his Face and Person. You will have a great deal of Pleasure in one another’s Conversation; I wish I could be within hearing; but that cannot be. He is upon one of his Rambles in Search of Knowledge, and intends to view both your Sea Coast and back Country.

Remember me kindly to Mr. Tufts7 and Mr. Ruggles8 when you see them. My Respects to your good Lady and Family. With the greatest Esteem I am, Dear Sir, Your most affectionate humble Servant

B Franklin

Revd. Mr. Elliot.

Addressed: To / The Revd. Mr Jared Elliot / Killingworth

1Possibly in Eliot’s letter of April 10, not found, referred to in BF to Eliot, September 1 (below, p. 176).

2Leonard of Somerset Co., Md., has not been identified. But either BF or Eliot or both may have misunderstood: there was a Thomas Leonard (d. 1759) of Somerset Co., N.J., a large landowner, trustee of the College of New Jersey, member of the New Jersey Council, succeeded by Charles Read, another of Eliot’s correspondents (see above, III, 436). BF’s correspondent at “Newtown,” or Chestertown, Md., may have been Thomas Ringgold (see above, IV, 471 n).

3John Mitchell’s map, dated Feb. 15, 1755, was published in London (see above, II, 415 n). Lewis Evans’ General Map of the Middle Colonies in America was reported by Pa. Gaz., July 10, as just finished, and the following week Evans advertised for subscriptions for publishing it. A few specimens were run off at this time; it was probably one of these BF was sending. Henry N. Stevens, Lewis Evans His Map of the Middle British Colonies in America (3d edit., London, 1924). For Evans’ criticism of Mitchell’s map, see his letter to Robert Dodsley, Jan. 25, 1756, in PMHB, LIX (1935), 296–7.

4Aaron Eliot claimed in 1744 to have made half a ton of steel at the Salisbury ore bed, in which his father was a share-holder (see above, III, 150 n), and continued to manufacture steel and steel tools at least until the Revolution. William H. Eliot, Jr., Genealogy of the Eliot Family (New Haven, 1854), pp. 160–2. In a letter to Henry Horne, 1762 (Phil. Trans., LIII, 1763, 56–8), Eliot speaks of steel manufactured by his son.

5BF had served as a channel of communication on agricultural matters between Eliot and Hugh Roberts in 1751. See above, IV, 193, 214.

6BF introduced John Bartram’s traveling companion, Rev. Francis Alison, to New England friends the next day; see the three following letters.

7Not identified.

8Rev. Thomas Ruggles, Jr. (1704–1770), B.A., Yale, 1723, minister at Guilford, Conn., since 1728, who preached Eliot’s funeral sermon, 1763; or his half-brother Nathaniel (1713–1794), B.A., Yale, 1732, who practiced medicine at Guilford and was a member of the Connecticut General Assembly. Dexter, Biog. Sketches, I, 286–8, 464.

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