Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Francis Hopkinson, 9 May 1766

To Francis Hopkinson

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

London, May 9. 1766

Dear Friend

I have been so busy that I have not had time to go to the Customhouse about your Salary, since mine of Feby. 26.8 (but will now do it soon) nor to write to you since I saw the Bishop,9 which was some time after he receiv’d your Letters. He express’d a Pleasure in hearing of and from his Relations, enquir’d in what manner he could send Letters to you, and said he hop’d you would not think his Slowness in corresponding was from any want of Regard; this he desir’d me to mention when I should write to you. I told him, that if he sent his Letters to me, I would forward them to you with Pleasure, and I took the Opportunity of saying every thing of you that Friendship and Truth dictated. He ask’d concerning your Views in Life, mention’d your Inclination to come over to England, and said he should be glad to show you a proper Regard here, if it suited you to come.1 I told his Lordship, that his Countenance to you and introducing you to the Knowledge of Persons of Worth, as well as your having such an Opportunity of seeing the World a little, might be of great Use to you. He invited me very politely to come and see him in Worcestershire. The other Day his Lordship call’d when I was not at home, and left a Packet for your good Mother, which I send by this Opportunity. I suppose from the Contents, she and you can judge better how proper it may be for you to make a Visit here, than from anything I can say; so I do not take upon me to advise.

I deliver’d your Present to Mr. Burrow,2 who returns his Thanks; but the Apples were rotten, all to 4. I paid Freight and Porteridge, which I shall receive with the other Charges I have been at, when I see Mr. Barclay.3

I am oblig’d to you for the Concern you express at the Abuses I receive from unreasonable People. They are a sort of Things that are more blessed to receive than to give. I must, with much better Men, take my share of them, if they were harder to bear than they are.

I will see about Hogarth’s Works, and get them for the Library if they have not been sent.4 I am, my dear Friend, Yours affectionately

B Franklin

F. Hopkinson Esqr.

Addressed: To / Francis Hopkinson Esqr / Philadelphia / via N. York / per Packet / B. Free Franklin5

Endorsed: 12a Dr. Frankl[in] 1766

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Not found. Hopkinson had been appointed collector of customs at Salem, N.J., in November 1763; apparently in a letter to BF which has not been found he had asked help in getting the salary either increased or paid more promptly. Pa. Gaz., Nov. 17, 1763.

9James Johnson, Bishop of Worcester, whose kinship to Hopkinson BF had helped to establish in 1765.

1Before this letter could have reached Philadelphia, Hopkinson had sailed for England on May 22, 1766, hoping to obtain some position through the bishop’s influence. Finding his prospects dim, he returned home in the summer of 1767. George E. Hastings, The Life and Works of Francis Hopkinson (Chicago, 1926), pp. 123–49.

2James Burrow, master of the Crown Office at the Court of King’s Bench, who had supervised the research which had established Hopkinson’s kinship to Bishop Johnson; above, XII, 124 n, 401.

3On Oct. 1, 1765, Hopkinson’s mother had sent BF an order on the Barclay merchant house to pay his expenses in pursuing the genealogical researches for her family; above, XII, 289.

4On May 14, 1764, the directors of the Library Company had voted that their secretary, Francis Hopkinson, should ask David Hall to send to England for a complete set of William Hogarth’s works. Apparently Hall had failed to get the material before the artist’s death, Oct. 25, 1766, and Hopkinson had later asked BF to attend to the matter with Hogarth’s widow. While Hopkinson was in England the two men carried out the transaction; Hopkinson delivered the prints upon his return to Philadelphia late in 1767; and BF paid Jane Hogarth £14 11s. on Feb. 5, 1768, charging this amount to the Lib. Co. account. Lib. Co. Minutes, May 14, 1764, Dec. 14, 1767; BF’s Journal, 1764–1776, p. 15; Ledger, 1764–1776, pp. 19, 29.

5This franking, and that on the letter of the same date to Mrs. Hopkinson immediately below, are the earliest instances the editors have found of the punning form of BF’s official frank used as a substitute for the normal “Free B Franklin.” This punning form appears from time to time, though not regularly, on surviving address pages of letters written during the controversial years ahead.

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