Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Peter Collinson, 21 October 1762

From Peter Collinson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Londn: Octor 21: 1762

I impatienly expect the good News of my Dear Franklin’s Safe Arrival.8 Wee regret Your Abscence, but there is a Time the Dearest Friends must Part but Wee Cherish our Minds with the Hopes of Long enjoyeing your Correspondence and Shareing in the Discoveries, the Effects of your Fruitfull Genius, which can happyly Imploye it Self, to your own Benefit or that of the Publick.

Distance can not remove you from our Solicitation. Mr. Fox thinks himself extreemly obliged to you for your Letter. This draws on you a Simular request from His Intimate Friend Mr. Hamilton which I here Inclose.9

As you requested I insured for you £200 More.1 I give you Joye on your Sons promotion. I wish his Government may Sett Easie2—for He has Two unruly Spirits, Sterling and Morris,3 to contend with, but assisted with your Council He will Surmount them all.

I am with Sincere Esteem your Affectionate Friend

P Collinson

Yesterday I had the pleasure of Breakfasting with your Son and takeing my Leave.4 Think He has a Sensible and Agreeable Wife. I wish them much Comfort together

1762 Ben Franklin Dr
March 21 To Ballance of Account5 £14: 19: 5
To: 35th Vol. Mod. History6 } taken with you
To: 31 plate Inserts
0: 6: 6
0: 2: 6
Augst: 13. pd Insurance 15 guineas per Cent. 31: 10:
21: 36 Vol Mod History 0: 6: 6
£47: 4: 11
1762 Per Contra Cr
Augt. 10: By Net Draught 32: 9: 5

I am to Credit your account with return of Insurance when received.

I shall be Obliged to you for an Abstract of the Order of Councel for the Taxing Mr. Penns Land7

The Modern Histy are for the Lib. Com.8

Addressed: To / Ben Franklin Esqr / in Philadelphia / These / per Capt Budden

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8For BF’s arrival at Philadelphia, Nov. 1, 1762, after a voyage of ten weeks from Portsmouth, see below, p. 153. The “good News” appeared in London Chron., Dec. 30, 1762–Jan. 1, 1763.

9On BF’s letter, presumably about the erection of a lightning rod, to “Mr. Fox” (probably Henry Fox, first Baron Holland) see above, p. 138 n. Fox’s “intimate Friend” was Charles Hamilton (1704–1786), the ninth son of the sixth Earl of Abercorn. Hamilton’s seat, Painshill, near Cobham, Surrey, was a “famous show-place” and one of the “earliest examples of natural landscape gardening on a large scale.” Collinson to BF, Aug. 23, 1763, APS; Wilmarth S. Lewis et al., eds., The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, IX (New Haven, 1941), 71 n.

1Apparently a reference to insurance bought to cover BF’s belongings during his voyage to Philadelphia.

2For WF’s appointment as governor of N.J., see above, pp. 146–7 n.

3“Sterling” was William Alexander (above, VI, 244 n), whose claims to the title of the sixth Earl of Stirling the House of Lords refused to recognize, but who adopted the title nevertheless and in America, at least, was generally called Lord Stirling. He served with distinction during the Revolutionary War and was appointed a major general by Congress on Feb. 19, 1777. In 1775 he and WF conducted an acrimonious correspondence for which WF suspended him from the N. J. Council. Until that time, however, he and WF seem to have been on good terms. DAB; William A. Duer, The Life of William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, N.J. Hist. Soc. Coll., II (1847), esp. pp. 80–1, 87, 109–11. After being supplanted as Governor of Pa. in 1756, Robert Hunter Morris (above, V, 527–8 n) returned to N. J. and resumed the office of chief justice to which his father had appointed him in 1739. Until his death in 1764, he and WF seem to have got along well.

4The Philadelphia Packet, Capt. Richard Budden, left Portsmouth, where WF and his wife embarked, on November 20. The convoy under H.M.S. Nightingale ran into a violent storm in the Bay of Biscay and rescued the crew of a sinking ship, then most of the ships put back to Plymouth, where they remained until December 17. London Chron., Dec. 2–4, 1762, carries a long account of this experience from a passenger on the Philadelphia Packet, possibly WF. The ship arrived in Delaware Bay during the first week of February 1763, but because of ice and contrary winds could not come up to Philadelphia immediately. The Franklins debarked, therefore, at Lewes, arrived at Philadelphia on February 19, and set out for N.J. on the 23d. London Chron., Oct. 23–6, Dec. 21–23, 1762; Pa. Gaz., Feb. 17, 24, 1763; WF to Strahan, November 1762, Yale Univ. Lib.; PMHB, XXXV (1911), 424.

5See above, p. 68.

6For the multivolume An Universal History, from the Earliest Account of Time to the Present, see above, III, 146 n. Lib. Co. Phila. apparently had a standing order for the 44 volumes of the octavo edition of the modern part.

7See above, IX, 203–11.

8Collinson had for many years been the purchasing agent for Lib. Co. Phila.

Index Entries