Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Borthwick, 8 September 1770

From John Borthwick6

ALS: American Philosophical Society

New York, 8 Septemr. 1770.

Dear Sir,

I used the Freedom to write you a few Lines at two times from Philadelphia.

I have been here for sometime in the high part of the Town and continue to grow better.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Governor his Lady, Mrs. Beache and the young Dr. at Burlington, as I passed, in good health, stayed a few days with Mr. Laurence the Mayor with whom I went and saw Judge Reids Iron Works by which he is no danger of growing too rich. Mr. Beache is at Jamaica.7

I say nothing of the Transactions here, O homines ad servitudem paratos.8

As I hope to be well soon, and am determined to remain on this Continent, I must not remain idle, and I now presume on your Goodness to make this Application to you as I apprehend it may be in your power to procure something for me, if Mr. Alexander is in London I hope he will assist. I had wrote for recommendations to Lord D—re but there’s no news of him,9 and I am told nothing can be done with him without m——y, not in my Power to give. I desire not your immediate Answer, that you may think of it at your Leisure. I shall return to Philadelphia in a few days——the other day a Gentleman here made me a present of a Manuscript entitled “An Examination into the Value of Canada and Guadaloupe with an impartial Account of the latter in answer to a late Pamphlet entitled ‘The Interest of Great Britain’s considerd with regard to her Colonies’ in a Letter to a Gentleman in England.” He says he believes it was not publishd as it contains some curious particulars. I will in a Subsequent Letter send you what he says about Cayenne by which you’ll recollect if you have ever seen it. It is dated “New York 5 January 1761” and contains 86 pages besides an Appendix, and was said to be wrote by one Mr. Kennedy alias Scott.1 For the meaning of the word alias see P—y Johnson’s Dictionary 1st Edition.2 I was at Mr. Levisey’s some day’s and had the pleasure of reading your Lucubrations.3 I forgot to tell you in a former Letter that the Old Duke of Wharton has a Duplicate of the Plan of Philadelphia the same with the one I gave you.4I remain with Esteem [torn] Your most Obedient

John Borthwick

Direct for me to the care of Mr. Joseph Wharton ju Philadelphia.

Addressed: To / Doctor Benjn. / Franklyn / to the care of / Mr. Strahan Printer / in / London. per Paquet.

Endorsed: Mr Borthwick

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The identity of the author baffles us. He was a Scot, to judge not only by his name but also by the many other Scots who appear in his letter. He writes as one who was a good acquaintance, perhaps even a good friend, of BF and his family and circle in America; and it is puzzling that such a man should not have appeared before in these volumes or, as far as we yet know, in BF’s later correspondence.

7Sally and her infant son, “the young Dr.,” were staying with the WFs while Richard Bache was in Jamaica on business; see DF to BF above, Aug. 16. John Brown Lawrence (d. 1796), the father of the captain who later commanded the Chesapeake, was a prominent lawyer and the mayor of Burlington; he subsequently became a Loyalist. I N.J. Arch., X, 302 n; Sabine, Loyalists, II, 3. Charles Read, justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, has appeared before: X, 313 n; XI, 97 n. In 1765 he had announced his intention of establishing iron works at different sites in the province, and had invited other investors to join him. For his career as an ironmaster see Carl R. Woodward, Ploughs and Politicks, Charles Read of New Jersey and His Notes on Agriculture … (New Brunswick, 1941), pp. 86–96.

8“O men ready for servitude” was the comment of Tiberius upon the Roman Senators.

9Alexander was in all likelihood BF’s old acquaintance, the Edinburgh merchant and banker, who had recently written BF: above, Sept. 3. Dunmore, also a Scot, had been appointed governor of New York in January, but did not arrive there until October. DAB.

1For BF’s pamphlet, to which the author was replying, see above, IX, 59–100. The reply is unlisted in standard bibliographies, and doubtless remained unpublished. Its author, we assume, was Archibald Kennedy, still another Scot, for whom see above, IV, 117 n.

2The joke in this reference eludes us. Samuel Johnson’s famous dictionary contains an unexceptionable definition of alias.

3Perhaps an allusion to the most recent letter that has survived from BF to Thomas Livezey (above, XV, 54), although that brief note scarcely qualifies as lucubration.

4Joseph Wharton, the head of the large Wharton clan and the old friend of BF and DF, was known as the Duke: above, XIV, 158 n. What the plan or map was we have no idea.

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