Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Joshua Babcock, 1 September 1755

To Joshua Babcock9

Copy: Yale University Library

Philada. Sept. 1. 1755

Dear Sir

I beg Leave to introduce to you the Revd. Mr. Allison Rector of our Academy;1 a Person of great Ingenuity and Learning, a catholic Divine, and what is more, an Honest Man; For as Pope says

A Wit’s a Feather, and a Chief’s a Rod;

An honest Man’s the noblest Work of God.2

By Entertaining then this Gent. with your accustomed Hospitality and Benevolence, you will Entertain one of the Nobility. I mean one of Gods Nobility; for as to the Kings, there are many of them not worthy your Notice.

Do me the Favour to make my Compliments acceptable to your good Lady,3 Sisters and Children in whose most agreeable Company I passed those Chearful Winter Evenings, which I remember with high Pleasure. I am, with the greatest Esteem and Respect, Dear Sir Your most Obedient and Most humble Servant

B Franklin

Mr. Babcock

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Joshua Babcock (1707–1783), B.A., Yale, 1724; studied medicine in Boston and London, practiced for some years, then kept a large store in Westerly, R.I. He served several terms in the Rhode Island Assembly, was chief justice of the colony, and, 1776, major general of the state’s militia. Ezra Stiles described him as a “facetious gentleman, of princely hospitality in his house,” who loved to welcome and entertain famous people. Nominally Baptist, he was “a stay-at-home Protestant,” who liked “a sensible rational polite Religion.” In the Revolution he was “a genuine Whig” and friend to American liberties. Dexter, Biog. Sketches, I, 292–4; Franklin B. Dexter, ed., The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles (N.Y., 1901), III, 66–8.

1See above, IV, 470 n.

2Essay on Man, IV, 247–8.

3Of Mrs. Hannah (Stanton) Babcock, Stiles wrote (Literary Diary, III, 66–7) that she was “a most excellent Woman, the Law of Kindness was upon her Tongue, her prudence and amiableness of manners as well as her virtues and love of all the religions rendered her the ornament of her sex.” Her husband “accounted her his glory.”

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