Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Sr., 27 August 1770

From Jonathan Williams, Sr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston Augt 27th. 1770

Honoured Sir

My Son Josiah is determined to go to London and I Belive Will Sail in about a month. I wish he might be accomidated at Good Mrs. Stevensons if agreeable if this Cant be please to direct the unfortinate Stranger to Some Other Good place. I Shall Send his Brother to take Care off him, it may apper to you Very extrodnary for us to Consent to Such a Step3 but the Happiness of his whol Life Seemes to Depend on his Going to England and Some of the best Gentlemen in town adviz’d to it. He has for a long time been Very anxious to Se the Famus Mr. Stanley Who he thinks Can Serve him in the Siance of Musick in which he has made Some Proficance and is Very fond of Excelling, but Dispares allmost of all Instruction but this Great Blind man Who he Says can give him more Light in this matter then any man living that Can See.4

We have no Business nor likley to have owing to the unhappy differance between Great Britain and her Collines Which will consequenthaly prove the total Ruin of thousands.

Aunt Mecom is well Settled in the Old place tho almost a N House;5 we flatter ourselves that you Will on your Return Call at Boston if So I Shall take it kind if you make my [House] your Home, I am Sinesible you are much engag’d in Public Concerns and I dont mean by Writing to you to give you too much Concern or troble with my Sons tho I Shall esteem it a great favour if you take notice of them if Only as Strangers in London. Your advice may not only Save my money but them from Ruin in [in the margin: Plas to turn over] Such a place as London is tho thay are Good Lads and I belive have Some Merit Otherwise I Should not have trustd them.

We Want a Governor and all most every Body Wishes Doctor Franklin might Come6 as well as your Dutifull Nephew and Humble Servant

Jona Williams

Endorsed: Jona Williams  Aug. 27. 1770

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Because Josiah (C.5.3.1), his eldest son, was blind; see above, X, 156. In spite of his handicap he had become proficient on the spinet and BF’s harmonica; see above, XI, 179. The young man feared for some reason that BF would disapprove of his coming and send him packing home by the first ship. Jane Mecom to BF below, Sept. 25. The fear was groundless. Mrs. Stevenson took in Josiah and Jonathan (with whom BF was later closely associated), and BF promised to do all he could for them; see the postscript of his letter to Jane Mecom below, Nov. 9. The two young men were accompanied by their uncle, John Williams the customs inspector: Van Doren, Franklin–Mecom, pp. 118–19. If he also lodged with them, the Craven Street house must have been capacious.

4For John Stanley, the organist and composer, see above, IX, 320 n. He had not taught for years, but took on Josiah at BF’s request and was pleased with him. BF to Jane Mecom below, Dec. 30.

5Henhouse? Jane was settled after her long visit to Philadelphia and Burlington.

6For an earlier version of the wish, see above, XVI, 129–30.

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