Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Priestley, [August? 1775]: extract

From Joseph Priestley

Extract reprinted from Horace Wemyss Smith, Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William Smith . . . (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1880), I, 519.

[August (?),1 1775]

I thank you for Dr. Smith’s excellent Sermon. If it be not impertinent, give him my most respectful compliments and thanks. I think to get it printed.2

1The sermon that is the subject of the extract was published, as noted below, in early July. If BF forwarded the pamphlet at the first opportunity, Priestley could not have received and acknowledged it before mid-August.

2For William Smith, the provost of the College of Philadelphia and BF’s old enemy, see above, IV, 467–9 n. On June 23, 1775, Smith preached a sermon in Christ Church, before a large congregation that included officers of the city associators and members of the Congress; he then published it, on request, under the title A Sermon on the Present Situation of American Affairs . . . ([Philadelphia, 1775]), with an explanatory preface. Horace Smith, immediately before the extract, quotes at length from both: pp. 507–19. The pamphlet was first advertised in Pennsylvania on July 5, and was subsequently reprinted there and in Delaware. The Dilly brothers brought out a London reprint later in the year, perhaps at Priestley’s instigation, and twice reissued it; numerous other reprints appeared elsewhere in Britain. Thomas R. Adams, American Independence: the Growth of an Idea . . . (Providence, R.I., 1965), pp. 144–7.

Index Entries