Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Franklin, 5 May 1772

To William Franklin

AL (letterbook draft): American Philosophical Society

London, May 5. 1772

[Dear] Son,

[I have rec]eived yours of Mar. 2, with the Bill in[closed] [torn] on the Society for £25 Sterling, which is [entered to your?] Credit.4 I have paid for you lately a [bill in the amount of?] £4 10s. 6d. to one Main’s a Shoemaker, [torn] by Order of Mrs. Clarke.5 And on [torn] several Sums of which I cannot [now recollect the full?] Particulars.

[The letter that?] you intended me by Osborne is not [arrived. You?] mention receiving two Letters from me, [written from?] Ireland, but say nothing of one I wrote [to you from?] Glasgow. Perhaps it miscarried. … 6

This Session of Parliament has been a quiet one, and now draws near a Conclusion. Opposition has made no Figure, and Lord North manages ably. Peace is negociating between the Turks and Russians; and miserable Poland is in a fair Way of being pacified too, if the Entrance of more foreign Armies into it, can produce Peace.7 There is no present Appearance of any other War likely to arise in Europe, and thence a Prospect of lessening considerably the National Debt.

I continue well, Thanks to God. Sir John Pringle has propos’d to me a Journey for this Summer to Switzerland. But I have not resolv’d upon it, and believe I shall not. I am balancing upon a Wish of Visiting at least, if not returning for good and all (as the Phrase is) to America. If I don’t do that, I shall spend the Summer, with some or other of those Friends who have invited me, at their Country Houses.

I am glad to find such a Progress in [the making?] of Silk in Pennsylvania. I hope your Pro[vince will] take a Part in it. I think you sh[ould encou]rage the raising Cocoons in all your Towns. B[etsy should] keep some Worms herself. Her Ex[ample] [torn]. The Queen has graciously accepted [torn] the first Fruits of Raw Silk from [torn] manufactur’d, [mutilated and torn] the next Birth Day.8 [Mutilated and torn] I am, Your [torn]

I saw Col. Ord1 the other Day, who kindly enquir’d after you.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The bill was for Odell (Jour., p. 41). WF had, we presume, paid the salary of his minister in Burlington, Jonathan Odell; in any case the clergyman had drawn a bill in his favor on the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, which BF credited to WF’s account. Three years earlier BF had acted as go-between in the same matter: XVI, 189–90.

5WF had ordered shoes for his wife (Jour., p. 41), and Miss Mary Clarke often took care of such purchases for her; see above, XIII, 258 n.

6A brief and mutilated paragraph, omitted here, was apparently intended for another letter: BF marked it in the margin “To Mr. Galloway I write per Osborn.” Most of the paragraph repeats the one to WF that follows, except for mention that the Parliamentary debate on May 1 advanced “no Proposition of further Impositions on America, which some had threatned us with.”

7A precipitating cause of the Russo-Turkish war had been Russian interference in Poland, where Prussia and Austria soon took a hand. A Russo-Prussian treaty of partition had been signed in February, 1772; Austria joined in August, and a year later Poland had lost a quarter of its territory.

8For the gift of Pennsylvania silk to the Queen see BF to Evans above, Feb. 6.

1Col. Thomas Ord, R.A., has not appeared before. He was in Philadelphia, where he doubtless met the Franklins, before Braddock’s expedition in 1755, and commanded the artillery in that ill-fated campaign; see Stanley Pargellis, Military Affairs in North America, 1748–1765 (New York, 1936), p. 96 n.

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