Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan, 17 November 1771

To William Strahan

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Edinburgh, Nov. 17. 1771

Dear Sir,

I have been at Blair Drummond on a Visit to my Friend Lord Kaims, thence I went to Glasgow, thence to the Carron Works, viewing the Canal by the Way.8 Extream bad Weather detain’d me in several Places some Days longer than I intended: But on Tuesday I purpose setting out on my Return,9 and hope for the Pleasure of seeing you by the Tuesday following. I thank you for your kind Congratulations on the News you have heard. I like immortal Friendships, but not immortal Enmities; and therefore kill the latter whenever I have a good Opportunity, thinking it no Murder.1 I am but just come back hither, and write this Line just to let you know I am well and again under the hospitable Roof of the good Samaritan.2 As to News, which you seem to expect from me, I protest I know of none, and I am too dull for Invention. My Love to Mrs. Strahan and your Children, and believe me ever, my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately

B Franklin

Addressed: To / William Strahan, Esqr /King’s Printer / London / B Free Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8For Lord Kames and Blair-Drummond see above, IX, 5 n; XIII, 478 n. The Carron ironworks, among the most famous in Britain, produced the cannon named after them, carronades. The canal was the Forth and Clyde, the work of BF’s old acquaintance John Smeaton; it had been begun in 1768 and was not completed until 1790. For this part of BF’s journey see Nolan, Franklin in Scotland and Ireland, pp. 182–7, 189–97.

9He actually left on Thursday, Nov. 21. Ibid., p. 199.

1The news in all likelihood was about Hillsborough, and may have been a rumor that he was on his way out. The Earl, to BF’s surprise, had cordially received and entertained him in Ireland: ibid., pp. 162–5; BF to WF below, Jan. 30, 1772. But the enmity between the two had been scotched, not killed; a few months later it was thriving again.

2BF’s host, David Hume.

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