Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from J. Moody, 5 August 1774

From J. Moody3

LS: Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia

oxford street No. 52. Fry—Augt. 5th 1774

Dear Sir,

At a time when the strongest professions of Friendship are but cautiously to be depended upon, a meer declaration of my Regard for Docr. Franklin, doth not well Enough satisfy me. I have therefore taken the Liberty to beg, that he will be pleased to accept of a small Essay of my own Manufactory; perhaps it may help to lead to something like a confirmation of my Esteem for him, whose Character and abilities command respect and Admiration from every body but a Villain. I have the honor to be most sincerely Your Humble Servant

J Moody

Addressed: To / Doctr Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3We have searched highways and byways without finding a clue to his identity. The letter may be in his hand or that of an amanuensis; the signature is strikingly different from the text. Material with the letter in the library of the Historical Park (for access to which we are indebted to Mr. Robert Giannini, Assistant Museum Curator) tells something about him but not much. Two MS sheets of Biblical exegesis are in a different hand from the letter and may have come from another source. Two other sheets, by the letter-writer, are headed “Explanation.” What they explain, in a fragmentary way, is the working of an elaborate perpetual calendar “Invented and Executed by Jno. [or Jn.] Moody, Esqr.” A moveable dial at the back controls the month and days, and the device gives information on the solar and lunar cycles, tides, the date of Easter until 1901 and moveable and fixed feasts of the church, the reigns of monarchs since the Conquest, etc. We assume, having failed to find any pamphlet written by Moody, that this brain child was the “Essay of my own Manufactory” that he enclosed with his note.

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