Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from J. Warner Phipps, 28 October 1774

From J. Warner Phipps8

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Docters Commons. 28: Octr. 1774.

Dear Sir

A Society of Gentlemen, Friends to the Cause of Liberty, have been wont for many years past to Dine together at the Pauls head Tavern in Cateaton Street on the 4: November in Commemoration of King Williams Landing, and of the Glorious Revolution that Ensued thereon.9 I have the Honour this year to be one of their Stewards and as many of your Friends of the London Coffeehouse Club,10 will be present with us, I have taken the Liberty of enclosing a Tickett, and request the favour of your Company.

If any previous Engagement Should prevent your Coming, you will be pleased to return Me the Tickett, any Day before Friday. I am with real respect Dear Sir Your most obedient and very humble Servant

J: Warner Phipps

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklyn Esqr. / Craven Street / Strand.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8We know nothing about him except what the letter reveals. A John Warner Phipps, very likely his father, was a coal merchant with quarters off Great Carter Lane: T. Lowndes, The London Directory … (5th ed., London, 1774). This Phipps’s profession is suggested by his writing from Doctors’ Commons, which housed ecclesiastical and Admiralty courts and was a gathering place for those concerned with them: Henry B. Wheatley, London Past and Present … (3 vols., London, 1891), I, 507–9.

9The Society for Commemorating the Revolution in Great Britain, or for short the Revolution Society, went back almost to the event that it celebrated; it met annually on Nov. 4, the birthday of William of Orange, and its membership ranged from peers to dissenters. The Paul’s Head Tavern, in what is now Gresham Street, had been popular for half a century. An Abstract of the History and Proceedings of the Revolution Society in London … ([London,] 1789), p. 6; Bryant Lillywhite, London Coffee Houses … (London, [1963]), pp. 440–1.

10What BF called the Club of Honest Whigs, of which he had been a member for years, had moved to the London Coffeehouse in 1772. See above, XI, 98 n and subsequent volumes.

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