Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Lord Le Despencer, 14 April 1774

To Lord Le Despencer

ALS: Dashwood Papers, Bodleian Library

Cravenstreet Apr. 14. 74

My dear Lord

I apprehend there will hardly be room for so much, in Characters large enough to be read from below. If the Sculptor should be of that Opinion, perhaps it may be well enough still, if we begin with the Words, Almighty God being, &c. and end with, Persuasion, omitting what is before and after.6

I happen to be engag’d at Dinner, but purpose waiting on your Lordship between 6 and 7. With unalterable Attachment, I am ever Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Le Despencer was erecting, in his park at West Wycombe, a lead statue of William Penn. The figure held a scroll on which was a quotation from Penn’s charter of privileges to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania. Betty Kemp, Sir Francis Dashwood: an Eighteenth-Century Independent (London, 1967), p. 118. The original idea seems to have been to include the whole first section of the charter, which was indeed too much, and even the excerpt that BF suggests turned out to be prohibitively long; see The Charter of Privileges Granted by the Honourable William Penn, Esq; to the Freeholders and Inhabitants of Pennsylvania. October 28, 1701 (Philadelphia, 1625 [i.e., 1725]), p. 3 [i.e., 4]. The sculptor condensed the inscription and contrived to have it incomplete; see the note on BF to Charles Moore below, Feb. 5, 1775.

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