Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Francis Hopkinson, 31 May 1767

From Francis Hopkinson5

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Hartlebury Castle May 31st. 1767

My dear Sir

I have once more the Pleasure of writing to you from this delightful Place; where I thank God, I enjoy perfect Health and all the Pleasures the Country can afford. Time rolls away in the most agreeable Manner imaginable; Reading, walking, riding, Music, Drawing &ca. season the Hours with much calm and rational Pleasure; and to crown all, the good Bishop and Mrs. Johnson treat me with all possible Affection and Kindness. Yet, after all (such is my Partiality for dear Philadelphia and my Friends there) that I must say it is with great Delight I look forward to the Time of my Embarkation. I have not recieved a Letter from Home since Mid-Winter—But a Ship is hourly expected, and, as the Winds have been favourable for some Days past, I hope it will not be long before she arrives. After I left London, I spent a Week very agreeably a[t] Bath; where I was kindly entertained by Mr. Taylor and Family.6 We made an Excursion to Bristol and the hot-Wells. Was I to choose a Residence in England I think I should not hesitate a Moment in giving the Preference to Bath beyond any other Place—except Hartlebury Castle—From Bath I took a Post Chaise to Repple, near Glocester, where I spent two or three Days with Dr. Warren, one of my good Couzins,7 who conducted me in his Carriage to this Place. I am very fond of riding out on Horse-back—His Lordship has therefore accommodated me with a very fine little Horse and with him I have made several pleasant Excursions about the Country. Mr. Hamilton8 did me the Honour to write to me the other Day; he has kindly offer’d to secure me proper Accommodations and Provisions for our intended Voyage, on as reasonable Terms as may be: and informs me that we are likely to have Mr. Powel9 a fellow Passenger. The Ship in which we propose to sail is daily expected and Messr. Barclays assure us that she will not be detained beyond the latter End of July, her Cargo being chiefly engaged.1

I hope you retain your Health and Spirits, for I shall always interest myself much in your Wellfare, having the greatest Personal Regard for my good Friend, and a lively Gratitude for all Favours. My affectionate Compliments to good Mrs. Stevenson. When I left her she was a little disordered by a Fright occasioned by a Fire in the Neighbourhood; I hope she has long e’er this regain’d her usual Composure and Serenity of Mind; which I wish s[he may] long enjoy. Compliments to Miss Stevenson [and] to Miss Franklin. Adieu. I am Dear Sir Yours most sincerely

F. Hopkinson

Addressed: To / Dr Franklin / at Mrs Stevenson’s / Craven Street / London / Free / J Worcester2

Endorsed: Hopkinson

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5For Francis Hopkinson, see above, XII, 125 n. The young man had gone to England in the spring of 1766 at the invitation of his uncle, James Johnson, Bishop of Worcester, in what proved to be a vain hope of gaining some attractive appointment there. From the final paragraph of this letter it is clear that he had been a house guest at Craven Street, where he had established cordial relations with the Stevenson ladies and Sally Franklin, BF’s young English relative. He had spent much of his time, however, at Hartlebury Castle, the country estate of Bishop Johnson’s diocese. For an account of Hopkinson’s English visit, see George E. Hastings, The Life and Works of Francis Hopkinson (Chicago, [1926]), pp. 119–56.

6John Taylor, an English artist who had once lived in Philadelphia. In 1787 he quarrelled with Hopkinson and George Clymer over their management of his Philadelphia property. Ibid., pp. 146 n, 329.

7Not further identified. Bishop Johnson’s family was very large, he being one of his parents’ fifteen children: nine sons and six daughters.

8James Hamilton, former lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, who had gone to England in late 1764 for treatment of a suspected cancer on his nose. His disorder seems to have been cured and he was now planning his return to America. Above, III, 327–8 n; XI, 458 n, 472 n.

9Samuel Powel (1739–1793), member of a wealthy family and the last mayor of Philadelphia under the proprietary government.

1Pa. Gaz., Oct. 29, 1767, reported that the Pennsylvania Packet, Captain Falconer, had arrived from London on the 23rd, with Hamilton, Powel, Hopkinson, and Jacob Winey, a merchant, as passengers. BF reported to DF, August 5, that together with Mr. and Mrs. West, Mrs. Stevenson, and Hopkinson, he had visited Captain Falconer’s ship to drink tea with him. It was a fine ship, BF wrote, and he hoped to go home with Falconer on its next voyage; below, p. 224.

2The frank of James Johnson, Bishop of Worcester.

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