Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Ansell, 5 January 1775

From William Ansell3

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Snetterton Norfolk Jan 5: 1774 [i.e., 17754]


I have taken the Liberty of sending a Turkey by the Norwich Coach who Inns at the Bull Bishopgate street which I hope youll Do me the favor to Exsept.5 May I beg to know what time you think of Leaving England as I wish to trouble you with one hour of my Company before you sail for America. I find my Neibour Foulger Left England in fine spirits with Gods Leave I hope to See him within a 11 Months.6 I Remain Sir With respects your Humble Servant.

Wm. Ansell

Mr. Franklin

Addressed: To / Ben: Franklin Esqr / at / Mrs. Stevensons / Craven Street / Strand  London.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3We can only conjecture about him. Snetterton is near Illington, where the Foulgers lived; they and other farmers in the area emigrated to America in 1774. Above, XX, 512–13; Foulger to BF, Aug. 1, and BF to Bache, Sept. 10, 1774; below, RB to BF, Jan. 21. If Ansell thought of joining his former neighbors, he would naturally have asked to see BF to consult him, and might well have paved the way with the gift of a turkey.

4Ansell must have hung onto the old year, as so many do; for he spoke in the past tense of Foulger’s departure, which was in November, 1774.

5The turkey was sent to the Bull Inn in Bishopsgate St. Within, an old establishment much used by travelers from the eastern counties.

6Ansell could mean either that he was soon emigrating or that Foulger was looking over the colonial ground and then returning; the first interpretation seems more consonant with his request for an interview. We have no evidence that Foulger came back or that Ansell left.

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