Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Free, 4 March 1766

From John Free3

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Newington Butts Mar. 4. 1766


The Books inclosed in these Parcels, to wit;

Dr. Free’s Controversy with the Methodists

His Petition to the King,

His Petition to the H. of Commons, against the two Archbishops,

His Speech at Oxford; and

Voluntary Exile a Poem,4

are a Present from the Author, who lives at Newington Butts near Southwark

To an old Subscriber of his Mr. Richard Dunscomb of new York5 and sent with a View, of being conveyed to him by the kind assistance of either Dr. Franklin or Mr. Kelly:6 but if Mr. Dunscomb be dead or removed; they are then the Property of Dr. Franklin, if he pleases to accept of them.

In the Meantime Dr. Free would be glad of a Penny Post Letter to signify the Probability of their being conveyed.7

Addressed: For / Dr. Franklin of / New York. / with 2 Small Parcels

Endorsed: Dr. Free Dated March 4, 1766.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3On Dr. John Free, clergyman, schoolmaster, and writer on a variety of subjects, see above, III, 389 n.

4Free published a series of pamphlets attacking the Methodists in 1753 and 1759. Though he invited subscriptions in the latter year for a work on this subject, no copy or recorded date of publication has been located; perhaps what he was sending was a collection of the separate pamphlets. The other works on his list were: A Genuine Petition to the King (1762); The Petition relative to the Conduct of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York . . . (1763); The Speech of Dr. John Free . . . [on the British Constitution] (1753); and a poetical epistle intitled The Voluntary Exile (1765). See John Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century (9 vols., London, 1812–15), v, 695.

5While several Dunscombs are recorded in the New York registers of wills, 1749–76, there is no Richard among them. The editors have been unable to identify him.

6Perhaps Dr. John Kelly, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford; above, X, 59 n.

7No letter of acknowledgment has been found.

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