Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from a Committee of the Library Company of Philadelphia, 25 January 1771

From a Committee of the Library Company of Philadelphia

LS: American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia Jany. 25. 1771


We are appointed by the Directors of the Library Company of Philadelphia, to inform you that your Favour of the 7th July 1769 was received and laid before them by Mr. Charles Thomson, but the Confusion, which necessarily arose from the Union of the several Libraries, gave them so much Employ as to put it out of their Power to answer your Letter, so soon as the great Respect they bear to any Thing coming from you, induced them to wish.7 They concur with you in Opinion of the Propriety of having in some of our Public Libraries all the Transactions of every Philosophical Society in Europe, but before they would venture to send for so expensive a Collection they apprehend it proper to take the Sentiments of the Company upon the Occasion and in order thereto they would be much obliged to you to favour them with The Price of each Set and also of the French Encyclopedia. We have taken the Liberty to send you a Catalogue of Books and to request you would be kind enough to procure them for us and furnish us with your Account, we have not remitted any further Sum, but whenever we are acquainted with the Ballance, it will be sent by the earliest Opportunity.8 If there are any late publications not mentioned in our List, which you think proper for our Library, we shall be glad you would send them. The Directors are very thankful for the Trouble you have taken in their Service, but are fearful your many other Engagements, will render their further Applications inconvenient, if that should in the least be the Case, they beg you would recommend some Person who will supply the Company in future with Books on the most advantageous Terms. We are with much Respect your obedient humble Servants

Ml. Hillegas
Nicholas Waln
R. Strettell Jones9

Addressed: To / Doct: Benjamin Franklin / London per

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The Library Co. had absorbed the other city libraries in 1769; see above, XVI, 125. Hence BF’s letter (above, XVI, 171–2) had gone unanswered for a year and a half. Its contents explain what follows.

8The minutes of the Library Co. indicate that the committee was appointed on Oct. 29, 1770, and that this letter from it was approved on Jan. 7, 1771, but do not include the list of books ordered.

9For Hillegas and Waln see above, respectively, XVI, 8 n; XII, 311 n. Jones (1745–92) was a secretary of the APS, a director of the Library Co., and a manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital. He later moved to New Jersey, where he served in the legislature. Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania... (Philadelphia, 1883), pt. 2, p. 199.

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