Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Shipley, 14 December 1771

To Jonathan Shipley

ALS: Yale University Library

London, Dec. 14. 1771.

Hearing that your Lordship had called in Cravenstreet during my Absence, I went next Day to your House7 hoping to find the Family there, but was mortified with the Information of your being still at Twyford. I should have thank’d you before for your kind Letters in my favour to the Primate and Mr. Jackson.8 The Primate was at Armagh, and did not come to Dublin ’till just as I was leaving it. He was however exceedingly polite, and condescended to honour me with his particular Notice in the House of Lords and at the Lord Lieutenant’s;9 but I could not accept his hospitable Invitations, being fully engag’d for the little time I had to stay, and my Fellow-traveller impatient to be gone on Account of pressing Business. In my Life I never saw People more earnestly desirous of obliging a Stranger, or more anxiously intent on showing Respect to a Recommendation, than the Jacksons and their Brother (a worthy Man) Mr. Philips. Yet I could but once afford myself the Pleasure of Dining with that agreable Family, being entangled with numerous Engagements in Town, and they live in the Country about 7 Miles from Dublin.10 It is a handsome Seat, the Gardens and Fields belonging to the House very beautiful, as well as the surrounding Prospects. The House is well built, copied, one would think, from yours at Twyford, so similar is the Disposition of the Rooms, Stairs, Chimneys, &c. I will tell you more Particulars when I am happy in being with you, which is not likely to happen so soon as I wish’d and you kindly propose;1 for having been absent twice as long as I intended, I find my Business so accumulated, and such Heaps of Letters to answer, that it will be scarce possible for me, with the greatest Diligence to get through before the Meeting of Parliament. Be so good as to accept my best Wishes of every kind of Felicity to you and yours, and believe me ever, with the greatest Respect and Esteem, My Lord, Your Lordship’s most obliged humble Servant,

B Franklin

I had the Pleasure of hearing an exceeding good Character of your Lordship Mrs. Shipley, and the younger Ladies, from an old Man and Woman that keep your House at St. Asaph.2

Please to present my Respects to Mr. Wilmot.

Lord Bp. of St. Asaph.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7His town house in Jermyn Street; see his note to BF below, under Jan. 25, 1772.

8See Shipley to BF above, Aug. 13.

9Viscount Townshend (1724–1807), Lord Lieutenant since 1767, had invited BF and Richard Jackson to dinner with a number of Irish dignitaries. This is BF’s only mention of visiting the Irish House of Lords; for his reception by the House of Commons see his letters below to Cushing, Jan. 13, and to WF, Jan. 30, 1772.

10We cannot positively identify Jackson; see Shipley to BF above, Aug. 13. If he was the Dean of Christ Church, Dublin, the others mentioned were presumably his wife and her brother; and the family might naturally have been living at Tallagh, the Archbishop’s country seat six miles from town, for which see [Philip Luckombe], A Tour through Ireland... (London, 1780), pp. 47–8.

1See Shipley to BF above, Dec. 10. This reply was sent, we believe, to Farnborough Place, where the Shipleys were visiting the Mr. Wilmot mentioned in the postscript.

2The Bishop, according to the DNB, spent only a month of each year in his diocese. BF and Jackson had sailed from Holyhead on Sept. 4, and had obviously taken the northern route through Wales; St. Asaph is midway between Denbigh and the sea.

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