Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Osborne, [c. 1766]

From Thomas Osborne6

AL: American Philosophical Society

[c. 1766]7

Mr. Osborn’s Compliments to Dr. Francklin and If he writes to Dr. Fothergill that He woud be so kind as to recomend me to the Dr. to publish or purchase the Quakers bible8 and shoud be Oblidged If he woud Inform me what No. of Books might goe off in His part of the World. Mr. Bevan9 is my friend and will serve me.

Endorsed:1 Mr Osborne gave this to Mrs Stevenson when she was at Tunbridge and desired her to send the substance of it in better words to Dr Franklin. This way he is sure to have the substance.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6For Thomas Osborne, the foremost London bookseller of his day, see above, VII, 176 n.

7This curious note can not have been written later than 1767, the year of Osborne’s death. Evidently it was written after BF returned to England in 1764, because if he had still been in Philadelphia, Osborne would doubtless have written him directly, as he had done before (above, XI, 478), rather than send a message to him by his former landlady, Mrs. Margaret Stevenson. The reference to the “Quakers bible,” Anthony Purver’s A New and Literal Translation of the Old and New Testaments, could put the note in 1765, for the work was published late in 1764 and was selling throughout the British Isles and the colonies during the next year (Pa. Gaz., June 13, 1765, advertised it for sale). Of the 1766 dating the editors are not completely confident, however, and profess to be considerably perplexed by this note.

8Fothergill had purchased the copyright to the Purver bible from the author for £1,000 and paid the cost of printing it from his own pocket. R. Hingston Fox, Dr. John Fothergill and his Friends (London, 1919), p. 27.

9Probably Timothy Bevan, a wealthy London Quaker apothecary; see above, VIII, 437 n. His brother, Sylvanus, died in 1765.

1The endorsement appears to be in the hand of Mrs. Stevenson’s daughter, Polly.

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