From John Fothergill
AL: American Philosophical Society
28th. Inst. [December, 1774?1] 9 ’o clock
Dr. Fothergill presents his respects to his Friend Dr. Franklin, and would be glad of the favour of his company this evening about 5 ’o clock, if the Drs. Engagements permit.
Dr. Fothergill is so much engaged the rest of the day, as to put him under the necessity of fixing an hour, which he fears may be inconvenient to his Friend but cannot avoid it.
Addressed: To / Dr. B: Franklin / Present
1. We assume, perhaps with little reason, that this note was somehow connected with the peace negotiations, and therefore assign it to the first date after they began. The other possibilities, given that assumption, are January and February of 1775. Fothergill wishes to see BF even at the cost of some inconvenience, and his urgency suggests to us December. On Jan. 28 BF was between two long conferences with Chatham, and the peace negotiations were in abeyance. By Feb. 28 Fothergill had given up hope of them; see his letter to Dartmouth below, Feb. 6. On Dec. 28 he may have known that BF, back from his visits with Chatham and Camden, was about to have his second interview with Lord Howe.