Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Coombe, 6 April 1773

To Thomas Coombe9

ALS (letterbook draft): Library of Congress

London, April 6. 1773

Dear Friend,

I receiv’d a few welcome Lines from you acquainting me with your safe Arrival at Philada. and promising me a long Letter, which I suppose has miscarried. So I know nothing of your Reception and Engagements,1 your Views, Pursuits or Studies, or what would please you best from hence, new Poetry or new Sermons; for the better Chance therefore of hitting your Taste, I send you a Sample of each perhaps the best we have had since Pope and Tillotson. The Poetry is allow’d by the Wits here, to be neat classical Satyr. Finding a vacant Niche in it, I have with my Pen stuck up there a certain Enemy of America.2 The just, liberal, and benevolent Sentiments in my Friend the Bishop’s Sermon do honour both to his Head and Heart; and the more, as he knows the Doctrine cannot be relish’d at Court, and therefore cannot conduce to his Promotion.3 My Respects to your good Father, and believe me ever Your affectionate Friend

B Franklin

Give me leave to recommend to your Acquaintance and Civilities, the Bearer Mr. Robert Hare, who bears an excellent Character here, and has Views of Settling in America.4

Mr Coombe

per Loxley

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9BF’s young clerical friend, who has appeared frequently in recent volumes, had returned to America in 1772.

1BF had some trouble in putting this tactfully; instead of the two nouns he wrote and deleted, “Station in the Church” and then “Connections.”

2BF undoubtedly sent one or the other of two recent poems by Thomas H. Delamayne (c. 1718-c. 1773), an Irishman and former barrister. The Senators … (London, 1772) satirized the principal speakers in the House of Commons; it ran through several editions during the year. The Patricians … (London, 1773), which did the same for speakers in the House of Lords, was published early in the year: London Chron., Feb. 20–23, 1773. We suspect that BF found his vacant niche in the latter work, in the wide margin of the passage (pp. 28–30) in which Delamayne wrote in relatively mild terms of Lord Hillsborough. For the poet and his satires see David J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland … (Dublin and London, 1912), p. 103.

3For Shipley’s sermon see BF to Cushing above, April 3.

4See BF to Richard Bache above, April 6.

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