Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 20 July 1774

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Lancaster July 20. 1774

Dear and honoured sir

I arrived here last Evening just in time to see the last of the Races, and to go to a brilliant Assembly. This is not the Business of my Journey, but it may not be amiss to mix a little.4 We sett of this afternoon, and shall not stop ’till we arrive at Glasgow, from thence we shall go to Edinburgh and come home through Yorkshire. That you may not think I am squandering my time to no purpose, I must inform you what I have done. At Liverpool I have made myself acquainted with 3 Houses, Rawlinsons & Chorley, Jno. Roberts & Co, and Mr. Hugh Pringle, whose correspondence I can engage at any future day, and who will give me the preference in the Commission Way, for what Business they may have at Boston. At Warrington I have a Credit with Saml Gaskall & Co for what Canvass I may want, whenever I shall pl[ease to?] order. At Manchester I have a credit with Mr. Radcliff, Mr. Phillips, Mr. Hamilton, for all kinds of Manchester Goods when ever I have a mind. I must not here omit mentioning Mr. Radcliff’s civility, which exceeded common [demand?], this Gentleman has given me (unask’d) the genteelest reccommendations to Glasgow. At Lancaster where I now am, I have met with Mr. Hornby, who is largely in the manufacture of Canvass, this Gentleman offers to consign me a q[uanti]ty on Commission, and desires me to inform him when I go out. In short every thing goes on favourably without an obstacle.5 In addition to this good fortune, I have the pleasure to find that tho’ I have been absent a fortnight, I have not expended more than I allow’d for a week. I take care to make no engagements that shall embarrass me, and not to be so elated with success, as to be too much affected at the reverse. I think I could bear a disappointment with a tolerable degree of philosophy. I hope you will not leave London before I return, but shall be glad to receive a Letter from you at Edinburgh and if you can conveniently lodge an introduction you will highly oblige me. It is to you I owe all the pleasure I now feel, for the honor of your alliance gives me this consequence, tho I assure you I do not immodestly boast of it, and I hope no part of my conduct will merit [your] displeasure. I have not room to mention my Friends [torn: but ask you?] to remember me to all. I am your dutiful Kinsman

J Williams Junr

[In the margin:] Mr. Boyd desires his best Compliments.

Addressed: To / Doctr Benja Franklin / at Mrs Stevensons / In Craven Street / Strand / London

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Williams considered the races “a mighty silly entertainment,” and all he found interesting was that a nobleman “was as familiar with everybody as if they were his equals”; the assembly was “genteel” and kept him dancing till one in the morning. Business was not in fact neglected: at the race track a Liverpool acquaintance put him in touch with Mr. Hornby, the canvas-manufacturer mentioned below, who was clearly a promising contact. Entry of July 20 in Williams’ MS journal, Yale University Library.

5All these men except Gaskall appear in the journal as more than business acquaintances. Williams’ traveling companion, Col. Boyd, had letters to Rawlinson and Chorley, both of whom were extremely hospitable. So were the others; the travelers were wined and dined and shown the local sights. The tour of Lancaster was on the 21st; during it Hornby took Williams to a cock fight, and the young man found the scene worthy of Hogarth, and disgusting. Entries of July 11–13, 15, 16, 18, 21. Henry Rawlinson and John Chorley were prominent citizens of Liverpool, who were elected that year to its chamber of commerce. Thomas Baines, History of the Commerce and Town of Liverpool … (Liverpool and London, 1852), p. 444.

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