Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Noble, 14 February 1774

To Samuel Noble2

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

London, Feb. 14. 1774


The Bearer, William Brown, being bred to the Tanning Business, is desirous of trying his Fortune in America. He is well recommended to me as a sober honest and diligent young Man.3 If it may not be inconvenient to you to afford him Employment as a Journeyman, I shall consider it as a Favour to me.

The Soles you were so kind as to send me have now been in Wear two Years, in common with others of this Country the best I could get, being in double Channel Pumps of half a Guinea a Pair; and yours appear to excel them in Firmness and Duration. I show’d them the other Day to Capt. Falconer, who can tell you that they are still very good. With much Esteem, I am, Sir, Your obliged Friend and humble Servant

B Franklin

Mr. Saml Noble

Addressed: To / Mr Samuel Noble / Tanner / Philadelphia / per / Mr Wm Brown4

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The old friend of BF about whom we know next to nothing, but who had sent him a pair of leather soles in 1771: above, XVIII, 247–8. Noble has been described as a tanner and currier in the Northern Liberties: PMHB, XXXIV (1910), 227.

3Possibly the same William Brown who in 1814 was a tanner and currier in Wilmington, Del.: Peter C. Welsh, Tanning in the United States to 1850 … (Washington, 1964), p. 40 n.

4A note appended by one of Noble’s descendants reads: “Letter from Benjamin Franklin to my Great Grand father living in Philadelphia during the revolution.” To this is added in another hand “[Charles Francis Jenkins].”

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