Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Ezra Stiles, 26 November 1765

From Ezra Stiles

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania; draft and letterbook copy: Yale University Library

Newport Novr. 26. 1765

Dear Sir

On the 22d Instant I received your Favor of the 5th. of July last, and the Diploma from the University of Edinburgh, with the several Letters relating to it.5 It is owing to you, Sir, that the University has done me this unmerited Honor, and therefore my Gratitude is due to both. To be enrolled in the highest Order of Literature, and in that Class in this Order which implies Piety as well as Erudition, would have been, could I have merited it, the Summit of my Ambition. I am not conscious of a Merit equal to such an Honor: yet am happy in receiving it from a University of the first Eminence for Religion and Literature; and in having been introduced to it by a Gentleman, whose Recommendation carries Weight with it throughout the Republic of Letters. The only addition which this Honor could possibly receive, you have given it, by the Delicacy with which you have conducted the Derivation of it, which gives Purity and a peculiar Lustre to the whole. It would give me the highest Satisfaction could my Character do the least honor to you, Sir, and to that illustrious Seat of Learning. Be pleased to accept my very grateful Acknowledgments for this unsollicited and intirely unexpected Mark of your Friendship. I shall ever entertain a filial Gratitude and profound Respect for the College of Edinburgh, and especially for the Reverend the Principal, and the other learned Gentlemen, who have honored my Diploma with their Names. Do me the favor, with my most respectful Thanks, to forward the inclosed Latin Letter to the Senatus Academicus.6 You will give my Compliments and Thanks to Mr. Strahan for his kind Assistance; and render the same to any other Gentlemen, to whom your Humanity may have laid me under Obligation. Dr. Robertson’s Letter to you, I will, agreeable to your desire, convey to his Excellency your Son, to be deposited with your papers. I am, my Dear Sir, Your affectionate and most Obedient Humble servant

Ezra Stiles

Doctor Franklin
To Dr. Benja. Franklin in London.

Endorsed: Rev. D. Robertson Edinb. Vera Copia Copies of Letters of Thanks to the University and to Dr. Franklin Novr. 26 1765.7

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5See above, pp. 194–6, for BF’s letter of July 5, 1765, telling Stiles of the honorary degree from Edinburgh; and see notes to that letter for references to the correspondence relating to the degree.

6Stiles wrote a copy of this Latin letter on the third and fourth pages of the ALS to BF. In addition to offering the appropriate expressions of gratitude and of deep respect for the University of Edinburgh, Stiles referred warmly to the common doctrinal and ecclesiastical bonds connecting the Church of Scotland, the dissenting churches of England and Ireland, the churches of New England, and the Presbyterian synods of Pennsylvania and New York.

7This endorsement written across at the bottom of the second page of the letter to BF, refers to both that letter and the Latin letter mentioned in the preceding note. At the end of the draft Stiles appended this memorandum: “Sent by Capt. Dinmore, the Ship Hannah for Falmouth in England—sailed from Newport Rhode Island Decr. 14 1765. Copy sent by Capt. Gardner who sailed from Newport for London Decr. 29. 1765. Inclosed I sent to Dr. Robertson one of my sermons on the Xtian Union.”

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