Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Shipley, 13 August 1771

From Jonathan Shipley

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Twyford Aug: 13th [1771]

Dear Sir

I have sent You my Letters to the Primate and Mr. Jackson,4 which I will beg the favour of You to get conveyd to them even if You should not have an opportunity of calling upon them. Mrs. Shipley and her Daughters join with me in much more than Compliments, and in most sincerely regretting the Loss of You. We join too in wishing that after your Return it may not be inconvenient either to spend some leisure Days at Twyford, or to retire thither to carry on some work of closer Application. It concerns the publick Interest that your Treatise on Colds should not be deferr’d too long.5

We return our thanks for taking the Charge of your Fellow Traveller, which must have been no small Exercise of your Care and Patience. If her Spirits were not dampd by the melancholy Idea of returning to School, I may presume You did not want Conversation. I have learnt from her Sister Georgiana that having overheard something of a haunted House at Hinton She had the Sauciness to conceive a Plot of fishing out the whole Secret from You by pretending to know it. How did She succeed?6 I am, Dear Sir, Your obligd and affectionate humble Servant

J. St. Asaph

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The first letter was addressed to Richard Robinson (1709–94), Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, for whom see the DNB. Jackson we cannot identify. He might have been Charles Jackson, who was then Dean of Christ Church, Dublin, and Bishop of Kildare, except that Shipley here, and BF in other letters, refer to him always as “Mr.”

5BF was perhaps considering a revision of his early essay on colds (above, I, 252–4); his interest had certainly revived, for the subject often appears in his correspondence with Rush, LeRoy, and Barbeu-Dubourg in the next two years. But the most he ever did, apparently, was to compile lengthy notes on ways of catching cold and avoiding it. Smyth assigns the notes to 1773 (Writings, VI, 62–77); they may have been written earlier, but scarcely during this first visit to Twyford, when BF was composing the first part of his Autobiography.

6BF’s description in the preceding document of his trip to London with young Kitty Shipley does not mention her curiosity about the house at Hinton Ampner, near Twyford; it had an evil reputation for ghosts. Cassell’s Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (6 vols., London, 1893–98), III, 256.

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