Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Williamson, [October 1759]

From John Williamson7

ALS (fragment):8 American Philosophical Society

[October, 1759]

[First part missing] of the Innocent Sort in pensylvany or the plantations will be very acceptable as also an account of what books and Tracts They have write your or Their Correspondence in This particulars will be very acceptab

Let me know how I coud Send letters or Tracts to you and I shall be ready to do it an I think Them worthy and woud be glad that you or any of the above persons of the Innocent way of thinking and living viz. Innocent Towards men and animals; woud do the Same. I rest Sincerly yours &c.

John Williamson

Endorsed: Memorial To Mr. Franklane octor 1759.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7John Williamson of Moffat, originally the tenant of a sheep farm, became a convert to the theories of Pythagoras and a believer in the transmigration of souls. As a vegetarian he forbade the buyers of his sheep and lambs to slaughter them and his landlord therefore deprived him of the property but gave him a small annuity. He read widely in some of the more esoteric branches of philosophy, became an amateur mineralogist, and wandered about in search of useful metals. His discovery of a mineral spring, the Hartfield Spa, added somewhat to his income. Though he advocated polygamy, he never married. John Ramsay of Ochtertyre, who knew him described his eccentricities at some length, commenting: “It was plain that John had a mist in his brain; but it was fortunate that it neither spoilt his morals nor diminished his goodwill to man.” Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century, Alexander Allardyce, ed. (Edinburgh and London, 1888), II, 327–35.

8Only the lower half of a single sheet has survived.

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