Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Adolf Benzelius, [November 1769 or December 1769]

To Adolf Benzelius8

AL: University of Uppsala Library

Saturday Evening [November or December, 17699]

Dr. Franklin presents his best Respects to Mr. Benzel, and will be glad to see him and his Friend1 tomorrow morning at Eleven a Clock, if that time will suit them, and they think fit to do him the Honour of a Visit in Craven street.

Addressed: To / Mr Benzel / at Mrs Philips’s / Jeweller. / St Martin’s Court

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Adolf Benzelius or Benzelstierna (1715–75) came of a distinguished Swedish family; his father and grandfather were archbishops of Uppsala. He served in the Swedish, Hessian, and French armies before coming to America in 1749; three years later he married a Swedish-American, the daughter of the pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Wilmington. During the French and Indian War Benzelius was a lieutenant of engineers in a British regiment; he remained in America, apparently for the most part on a tract of land that he had surveyed for himself near Crown Point, until he returned to England early in 1769. Gustaf M. Elgenstierna, Den introducerade svenska adelns ättartavlor med tillagegoch rättelser (9 vols., Stockholm, [1925–36]), I, 302; Horace Burr, tr., The Records of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church … ([Wilmington, Del.], 1890), p. 691; Carter, ed., Gage Correspondence, II, 498; N.Y. Col. Docs., VIII, 140; Board of Trade Jour., 1768–75, p. 200. Benzelius retired from the army in 1770, was appointed a surveyor of the royal forests in North America at £300 a year, and on this stipend settled down, according to one informant, to drink himself to death. G. D. Scull, ed., “The Montresor Journals …,” N.-Y. Hist. Soc. Collections, XIV (1882), 135; Johnson Papers, VII, 946; VIII, 209–10.

9So dated from information furnished by Dr. Ǻke Davidsson, Keeper of Manuscripts in the University of Uppsala Library.

1This was Johan Henrik Lidén (1741–93), a Swedish literary historian who was visiting England during a tour of the continent; he subsequently published the correspondence between Benzelius’ father and uncle. Svenska män och kvinmor, biografisk uppslagsbok (8 vols., Stockholm, 1942–55) IV, 557–8. For the identification of Lidén we are also indebted to Dr. Davidsson.

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