Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from [Andrew] Cheap and from Mr. and Mrs. [Israel] Wilkes, 23 December 1766

From [Andrew] Cheap and from Mr. and
Mrs. [Israel] Wilkes7

AL (two): American Philosophical Society

These two invitations are printed together because they are written on the same sheet of paper, though in different hands, and clearly relate to each other. They were certainly written on the same day. Though December 23 fell on a Thursday in 1760 as well as in 1766, this paper and its contents are assigned to the latter year because the people mentioned seem to have been friends of Franklin’s second mission rather than his first.

Woodstock Street, near New Bond Street.
[December 23, 1766]

Mr. Cheap’s Compliments to Dr. Franklin. He is afraid that he has been deprived of the Honour of his Company to Dinner by his not knowing the Situation of Woodstock Street.8 He therefore presumes to desire he will be so good as [to] spend the Evening with Mr. and Mrs. Barrows9 and some more of his Friends.

Tuesday 23d Decr. [1766]

For fear Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes should not have the pleasure of seeing Dr. Franklin this Evening in Woodstock Street, they take this Opportunity of begging the favour of his Company on Thursday next at four in Red Lyon Square1 to eat his Christmas dinner there with Mr. and Mrs. Barrow and Cheap.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The Reverend Andrew Cheap (d. 1803), B.A., Oxford (Baliol), 1754; M.A., 1757; vicar of Sutton on the Forest, March 1768, in succession to Lawrence Sterne; prebendary of York, December 1776; Gent. Mag., xxxviii (1768), 146; xlvi (1776), 580; lxxiii (1803), pt. 2, 1260; Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, 1715–1886 (London, 1887), i, 243. Israel Wilkes (d. 1805) was the elder brother of John Wilkes (1727–1797), the radical writer. Israel and his wife are often mentioned in later letters of the Stevensons and other friends of BF. A letter from Mrs. Emma Thompson to BF, Feb. 6, 1777, mentioned all the people whose names appear in these two notes. APS.

8Woodstock Street is a short street running southeast from Oxford Street, parallel to and a little west of New Bond Street.

9Probably Thomas Barrow, who served as a paymaster in the British Army under General Gage in 1772 (and possibly also under Bouquet in 1759). He and his wife were in New York City when the Revolution began; he took refuge on a warship in the harbor, while she remained in the city. BF called on her there in the spring of 1776 and, in answer to an inquiry from their mutual friend Emma Thompson, reported on this call in a letter of Feb. 8, 1777. Lib. Cong. Where their London residence was in 1766 is not known.

1Red Lion Square lies to the east of Bloomsbury Square and Southampton Row and north of High Holborn.

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