Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to ——, 8 April 1760

To ———3

Draft: American Philosophical Society

London April 8. 1760

Dear Sir

I received your Favour of the 31st of last Month,4 the answering of which I delayed and [I] should be glad to accompany you from London, in your next Return to Derbyshire; but doubt it will not be in my Power. I am sorry I cannot be certain as to the time of my going into Derbyshire. For on the very day you purpose coming to Town, viz. the 18th of this Month, our Province Affairs are to have Hearing before the Board of Trade.5

For being engag’d in some publick Business relating to our Colonies, which will probably have several Hearings before the Lords of Trade and the Council, the first of which is fix’d to the 18th Instant, and the rest uncertain—it is impossible for me to foresee when I shall be quite at Liberty; but as soon as I am, I promise myself the Pleasure of visiting you, and the Advantage of your Instructions, if my Leisure does not happen at a time inconvenient to you.

My Son joins in best Wishes for you and your’s, with, Dear Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3The editors can only guess at the identity of the addressee. On his way to Scotland in August 1759 BF “spent some time in Derbyshire among the Gentry there” and his present correspondent was probably one of the men he met then. The addressee seems to have been someone with scientific or technological interests because of BF’s expressed hope of profiting from his acquaintance’s “Instructions.” Before leaving England in the Summer of 1762 BF is known to have become friendly with two such Derbyshire men: John Whitehurst (1713–1788) of Derby, horologer and maker of philosophical instruments, later author of a popular geological treatise, Inquiry into the Original State and Formation of the Earth (London, 1778), and F.R.S.; and Anthony Tissington of Swanwick, near Alfreton, apparently concerned with the management of mines, for whom BF signed a certificate of nomination to the Royal Society, June 19, 1766 (see above, VIII, 358). Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Journal, XLVI (1924–25), 7–11; LXXX (1960), 82, 87–8. The earliest surviving documentation of BF’s acquaintance with either man is a letter from Whitehurst dated March 28, 1762, and that with Tissington about a year later, when Whitehurst sent BF greetings from their mutual friend, but the tenor of these letters shows that cordial relations with both had been established for some time. No other resident of Derbyshire in 1760 can be suggested who fits so well the present requirements, hence it seems likely that this letter was addressed either to Whitehurst or to Tissington, but to which one remains a matter of conjecture.

4Not found.

5For the hearings before the Board of Trade on the confirmation of the acts passed by the Pa. Assembly, see below, pp. 125–31.

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