Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to George Whitefield, 19 June 1764

To George Whitefield6

Draft: American Philosophical Society

Philada. June 19. 1764

Dear Friend

I received your Favour of the 21st past, and of the 3d. Instant and immediately sent the inclos’d as directed.7

Your frequently repeated Wishes and Prayers for my Eternal as well as temporal Happiness are very obliging. I can only thank you for them, and offer you mine in return. I have my self no Doubts that I shall enjoy as much of both as is proper for me. That Being who gave me Existence, and thro” almost threescore Years has been continually showering his Favours upon me, whose very Chastisements have been Blessings to me, can I doubt that he loves me? And if he loves me, can I doubt that he will go on to take care of me not only here but hereafter? This to some may seem Presumption; to me it appears the best grounded Hope; Hope of the Future; built on Experience of the Past.

By the Accounts I have of your late Labours, I conclude your Health is mended by your Journey, which gives me Pleasure. Mrs. Franklin presents her cordial Respects, with those of Dear Sir, Your affectionate humble Servant

B Franklin

PS. We hope you will not be deterred from visiting your Friends here by the Bugbear Boston Accounts of the Unhealthiness of Philadelphia.8

Mr Whitefield

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Whitefield had been in Philadelphia when BF returned from his New England journey in Nov. 1763, but they had missed seeing each other then. See above, X, 383. The preacher had gone on to New York City and then to New England. He traveled north as far as Portsmouth, then went to Boston in April 1764, moved southward in June, and spent the summer in New York City and Long Island, declining to go to Philadelphia until the middle of September because of the heat. On October 22 he set out for Georgia. Luke Tyerman, The Life of the Rev. George Whitefield, B.A., of Pembroke College, Oxford (London, 1876–77), II, 469–78. These travels can be followed in some detail in the pages of Pa. Gaz., which reported on them frequently.

7Neither of these letters has been found, and the enclosure referred to has not been identified.

8Perhaps a sly dig at Boston, where Whitefield had been dissuaded from preaching for about a month, earlier this spring, because of a smallpox epidemic there. Pa. Gaz., March 15, 1764.

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