Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [Daniel Burton], [October 1766]

To [Daniel Burton]2

Draft: American Philosophical Society

[October 17663]

Reverend Sir

At the Request of Mr. Spencer4 I take the Liberty of mentioning to you, that if the venerable Society shall think fit to appoint him to Spotswood in New Jersey, a new Mission which he tells me is under Consideration, I will recommend him to the Countenance and Protection of the Governor of that Province.5

My Friend the Revd. Mr. Sturgeon of Philadelphia writes to me, that his Health has been so much on the Decline, as to oblige him to retire into the Country, and that he should think him self happy if the Society would appoint him to succeed Mr. Campbel at Burlington.6 I suppose Trenton which is not far distant would equally suit him which if vacant, and I imagine he would be very agreable to the People there.7 Will you be so good as to excuse my intermeddling in these Matters, and believe me to be with great Esteem and Respect, Revd Sir

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The subject matter of this letter makes it virtually certain that it was intended for the Reverend Dr. Daniel Burton, secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, usually referred to at this time as “the venerable Society,” the term BF uses here. Spencer and Sturgeon, mentioned in the letter, both served under the Society’s auspices.

3In the second paragraph BF mentions Sturgeon’s letter asking BF’s help in getting him assigned to Burlington instead of Philadelphia. That letter (above, p. 406) was dated Sept. 1, 1766, and probably reached BF sometime in October. Hence this letter, in which BF complies with that request, is tentatively dated October 1766.

4On George Spencer, see above, X, 104–5, and this volume pp. 385–6.

5The Society did assign Spencer to Spotswood and also to East Brunswick, 1766–67; he transferred to Freehold, 1767, but was dismissed as “disreputable.” He later went to North Carolina. Frederick Lewis Weis, “The Colonial Clergy of the Middle Colonies,” Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., lxvi, part 2 (1956), 318.

6William Sturgeon, who had resigned his positions at Christ Church and St. Peter’s in Philadelphia, July 31, 1766, because of ill health, did not receive appointment to a New Jersey parish but died in Philadelphia, Nov. 3, 1770. Ibid., p. 323.

7BF revised and interlined this passage in his draft several times but did not quite succeed in maintaining grammatical construction.

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