Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan, 20 July 1762

To William Strahan

MS not found; reprinted from John Bigelow, ed., The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin (New York and London, 1887–88), III, 207–8.

London, 20 July, 1762.

Dear Sir:

I received your very kind letter and invitation to Bath where I am sure I could spend some days very happily with you and Mrs. Strahan, if my time would permit;8 but the man-of-war, that is to be our convoy,9 is under sailing orders for the 30th of this month so that ’t is impossible for me to leave London till I leave it forever, having at least twenty days’ work to do in the ten days that are only left me.

I shall send to the Angel Inn in Oxford a parcel directed to you, containing books I send as presents to some acquaintance there; which I beg you would cause to be delivered.1 I shall write a line to one of them, as you desire. The parcel is to go by the Thursday’s coach.

I hope for the pleasure of seeing you before I set out. Billy and Mrs. Stevenson join in respects and best wishes for you and Mrs. Strahan, with, Dear Friend, Yours affectionately,

B. Franklin.

P.S. I feel here like a thing out of its place, and useless because it is out of its place. How then can I any longer be happy in England? You have great powers of persuasion, and might easily prevail on me to do any thing; but not any longer to do nothing.2 I must go home. Adieu.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8On Aug. 10, 1762, Strahan wrote David Hall that he had returned to London on August 3 “after a three Weeks Tour, in which I visited Bristol Salisbury, and Oxford.” He had also been at Bath where his wife had been receiving treatment for “a bilious Cholic” and had brought her back to London. Strahan to Hall, Aug. 10, 1762, APS.

9H.M.S. Scarborough, Capt. Stott; see above, p. 115 n.

1BF expected Strahan to deliver the parcel of books to Dr. John Kelly (above, p. 59 n), Regius professor of medicine, who had apparently been instrumental in procuring his honorary degree from Oxford; see below, p. 136. The only book identified as given to Oxford by BF was Richard Jackson’s An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pensylvania (above, VIII, 360–2), which is recorded as received by the Bodleian Library on Aug. 9, 1762. Howard P. Arnold, Historic Side-lights (N. Y., 1899), p. 100. The Angel Inn, often mentioned by visitors to Oxford, stood near the East Gate in the High Street, on the site of a medieval inn. It was destroyed in 1882–83. Charles E. Mallet, A History of the University of Oxford, III (London, 1927), 442.

2On Strahan’s sincere regret at BF’s departure, see below, pp. 141–2.

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