Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Ezra Stiles, 28 August 1767

To Ezra Stiles

ALS: Dr. William’s Library, London

London, Augt. 28. 1767.

Reverend and dear Sir,

Inclos’d I return your List of Doctors, compleated as far as I can do it with the Help of my Friends here.7 I hope you continue well and happy, being, with sincere Regard and Esteem, my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately

B Franklin

Dr. Stiles.

[On the back in Stiles’s hand:8]

By Ezra Stiles

Episcopalians in America

* Revd. Timothy Cutler D D Boston. 1723. Oxon. and Cant. ob. 176 Aet
* Rev. – – – Jenny D D Phila.
Rev. Samuel Johnson of Connect. D D. 1744. Ox.
* Rev. Ebenr. Miller of Brantree. D D. 1746 Oxon.
* Rev. James McSparran of Narrag. D D. Ox.
Rev. Henry Caner of Boston } D D. 1766 Oxon.
* Rev. Wm Hooper    Do.
Revd. Saml. Auchmuty of NYork
Revd. Tho. B. Chandler of Jersey
Benja. Franklin of Philada. LL.D. St. And. and Oxon. 1759 &c.
Wm. Saml. Johnson of Connect. LL.D. 1766 Oxon.
Govr. Wentworth of N Hamp. LL.D. 1766. Oxon.
Rev. Cooper presidt. NY Coll. LL.D. Oxon.
[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7On Feb. 26, 1766, Stiles wrote BF asking him to “perfect the inclosed List.” The context makes clear that what Stiles sent was a partial list of Americans who had received doctorates in Great Britain, as Stiles had done the year before. He felt, he now explained, that it was “some Satisfaction to know the company into which one is associated.” Above, XIII, 174–5.

8It is hard to believe that the list Stiles wrote down here is a copy of the one BF had sent enclosed with his letter. This list is ostensibly limited to Episcopalians, as the incomplete list he had sent to BF certainly was not, and if BF had compiled the present data he would hardly have included himself among the Episcopalians. Furthermore, he could not have failed so completely as this paper does in the case of Robert Jenney, whom BF had known well as rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia (which DF attended) for twenty years prior to his death in 1762. There are several errors in dates, institutions, and specific degrees in this list (that need not be corrected here) of which BF is not likely to have been guilty. Strangely, too, the list omits the name of another prominent Philadelphia Episcopalian, BF’s arch-enemy: the Reverend William Smith, provost of the College of Philadelphia, who had received the degree of Doctor of Divinity at Oxford in 1759 and had tried, three years later, to prevent BF from receiving there the degree of Doctor of Civil Law. Above, X, 78 n. Just how Stiles compiled his list of Episcopalian honorary doctors remains uncertain. The meaning of the asterisks before five names is also unclear.

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