Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to David Hall, 9 December 1757

To David Hall

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London, Dec. 9. 1757

Dear Mr. Hall

I have yours of June 23. July 4. and 31. Sept. 14. and 30. and Oct. 19. and have receiv’d of you since I left Philadelphia, four Bills of One hundred Pounds Sterling each. I thank you for your Care in sending them, and your full Accounts of News, &c.7

I have been long ill. But I thank God am now pretty well recover’d, and hope to be a better Correspondent for the future. I have bespoke the Letter of Caslon, but find him very dilatory.8 I doubt I shall not be able to get you a Hand that is good for any thing.

You mention sending me two Copies of the last Treaty at Eastown, but they proved to be of that at Harris’s Ferry.9 I wish you had sent me a Poor Richard’s Almanack.1 It is impossible to form any Judgment yet when I shall return; but hope it may be early in the Summer.

I am oblig’d to Dr. Evans2 for the Journal. Lord Anson heard I had such a Thing, and sent for it to day.3 Say nothing of this.

This Nation has been almost in Despair, on Account of their bad Success everywhere during this Year; but the King of Prussia’s late good Fortune begins to revive them again. He will have a great Sum granted him by Parliament.4 Just now we have the News, that Prince Bevern has gain’d a compleat Victory over the Austrians in Silesia. They were double his Number, tis said, and attack’d him in his Camp, thinking to force his Intrenchments; but after 4 hours bloody Conflict, they gave over the Attempt; he came out and attack’d them in his turn, the Austrians broke and fled three different Ways; he pursu’d 6 German Miles, came up with one Third, and cut them to pieces; the King, who was marching to his Assistance met another Division, and demolish’d that. How much of this will prove true I know not: But that there has been a Victory is generally believ’d.5

My Love to Polly and the Children, Mrs. Leacock,6 &c. in which Billy joins. I have only time to add, that I am, Dear Friend Yours affectionately

B Franklin

Mr. Strahan and Family are well

Addressed: To / Mr David Hall / Philada.

Endorsed: B. Franklin Decr. 9. 1757.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The first, third, and fifth of the letters acknowledged by BF have not been found; the others are printed above. See above, p. 236, for a summary of the payments to BF. The “Accounts of News” BF acknowledged may have been in the missing letters, or may refer to newspapers.

8See above, VI, 476, for William Caslon and an earlier order of type from him. BF recorded payment of £31 2s. to Caslon on Sept. 29, 1758, for “letters sent to my office, under D. Hall, 311 lbs. Bourgeois.” “Account of Expences,” p. 41; PMHB, LV (1931), 114.

9See above, p. 264 n, for the “last” Easton Treaty, July–August 1757, advertised in Pa. Gaz., Oct. 13, 1757. Minutes of Conferences Held with the Indians, at Harris’s Ferry, and at Lancaster, in March, April, and May 1757, printed by Franklin and Hall (Phila., 1757), had been advertised on July 7, 1757.

1Poor Richard for 1758 (see below, pp. 326–55), was advertised as in press, Pa. Gaz., Sept. 15, 1757, and as “just published,” October 6.

2Probably Dr. Cadwalader Evans (c. 1716–1773), a Philadelphia physician who had lived in Haiti and Jamaica, 1746–48; he was appointed to the staff of the Pa. Hospital, 1759. Frequent letters between him and BF, 1765–73, show they shared political views as well as scientific and philanthropic interests. Pa. Gaz., July 7, 1773; Thomas G. Morton and Frank Woodbury, The History of the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1751–1895 (Phila., 1895), p. 489.

3No “Journal” by Evans has been found or identified; Lord Anson, F.R.S., First Lord of the Admiralty, may have been interested in something Evans had written following his capture by the Spanish which had led to his residence in the West Indies.

4This sentence and the preceding one were printed with only slight verbal changes in Pa. Gaz., March 16, 1758.

5London Chron., Nov. 15–17, 1757, had reported Frederick II’s victory over the French at Rossbach; and on December 8 falsely reported that Prince Bevern had defeated the Austrians at Breslau, where, in fact, the Austrians were victorious. Ibid., Dec. 10, 1757. Frederick II did defeat them at Leuthen on December 5, news of which was in the Chronicle on the 20th.

6Probably Hall’s mother-in-law; his wife was the former Mary Lacock. PMHB, X (1886), 86–7.

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