Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Robertson, 1 April 1765

From William Robertson

Copy: Yale University Library

College of Edinbr. April 1st. 1765

Dear Sir

I had the honour of your Letter of March 4th.2 When our Friend Mr. Strahan first wrote to me with regard to Mr. Stiles I was perfectly satisfied that a man whom you admitted to such a share in your estimation and friendship was well entitled to any academical honour we could confer upon him. I was happy to find that my Brethren were of the same sentiments when I communicated your Letter to them. At our meeting on Thursday [in margin: 28 Mar.] last the degree of Doctor in Divinity was unanimously conferred upon your friend and his Diploma is transmitted to Mr. Strahan by a Gentleman who sets out from hence this night.3 I did not think it necessary to answer your letter untill I could tell you that the affair you had committed to my care was finished. I am happy that my situation in this University has put it in my power to give you this small proof of the Satisfaction and alacrity with which I shall execute any commands you are pleased to lay upon me.

When I heard of your return to Britain it afforded me great pleasure to think that I might have another Opportunity of Seeing you in London.

If you shall be able to accomplish what you intend so kindly to your Scottish friends it will be still more agreeable; for in our provincial leisure and quiet one enjoys those he values and loves more in a week than you can do in the bustle of the Capital during a year.

I long much for a meeting whether it shall be here or in London. I hope it may be in both places. I beg you would believe that I am with great esteem Dear Sir your most Obedient and faithful Servant

William Robertson

To Dr. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Above, pp. 80–1. On the subject matter of this letter, see also above, pp. 69–70.

3Robertson and his colleagues had known BF personally only during his one short visit to Edinburgh several years before, but the cordiality of this letter and the promptness and unanimity with which the Senatus Academicus acted on his recommendation demonstrate the high regard these Scotsmen had for BF. The unidentified gentleman who carried the diploma to London was rather more dilatory than the Senatus, however, for he did not deliver it to Strahan until June or possibly the beginning of July. See below, pp. 165, 195–6. Stiles did not receive news of the degree—and the diploma—until Nov. 22, 1765. See below, p. 384.

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