Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Williams, Jr., 12 September 1775

To Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: Yale University Library

Philada. Sept. 12. 1775.

Dear Jonathan,

I this Day receiv’d yours per Capt. Falconer, and am vastly oblig’d by your Industry in Packing and Dispatching my Things. Their Arrival makes me very happy; tho’ they are not yet come on shore. I have not before written to you, imagining you would hardly be found there; but now I find by Mr. Alexander’s Letter (to whom my best Respects) that he advises you to stay, for the Chance of something turning up to your Advantage.7 I have lately heard from your Father. He has made a temporary Exchange of Houses and Furniture with a Mr. Putnam of Worcester, who now resides at your House in Boston, and your Family at his House in Worcester, where they were all well about two Weeks since.8 My Sister is at Warwick with Mrs. Greene. She left her House lock’d up with the Furniture in it, but knows not whether she shall ever see it again.9 I like your Conduct with Respect to the Jersey Petition. The first Copy had indeed been presented before, by Mr. Lee, but that you could not know.1 If you determine to stay in England, I shall do what I can to throw Business in your Way: But whether America is ever again to have any Connection with Britain either Commercial or Political is at present uncertain. All depends upon that Nation’s coming to its Senses. Here we are preparing and determined to run all Risques rather than comply with her mad Demands.

Mr. Fergusson, who will deliver this, is a Gentleman of amiable Character in this Country, who visits England on some Business of his own. If you can do him any Service, you will oblige me by it. I recommend him warmly to your Civilities: and likewise Mr. Stockton who goes over with him intending to study Law in the Temple.2

I desire to be affectionately and respectfully remembered to Mrs. Hewson, Miss Dolly Blunt, Mrs. Falconer,3 Mrs. Barwell and all our other Female Friends. I am hurried and can now only add that I am ever Your affectionate Friend and Uncle

B Franklin

I shall write to you fully, and to Mr. Alexander by next Opportunity.

Deliver the inclos’d yourself. I have given you a little Recommendation to the good Bishop.4

[On the verso:] miss’d finding M[r. Fergus]son to give him this. Enquire for him at the Coffee house.

Addressed: To / Mr Jonathan Williams / at Mrs Stevenson’s / Craven street / London / per favour of Capt. Loxley

[In Loxley’s hand:] Mr. Shakespeare please deliver the enclos’d to Mr. D. Barclays care opposite Bow Church and will obloige yours &c


Chapeside 108

Endorsed: Doctor Franklin Phila 12th Sept. 1775. recvd Decr 1.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7William Alexander may already have had wind of the possibility, which later materialized, of a business arrangement with Walter Blunt; see JW to BF below, Nov. 23.

8“A” Mr. Putnam was James, Sr. (1726–89), one of the outstanding lawyers in America, the teacher of John Adams, and too outspoken a Loyalist to be safe outside Boston; hence the exchange was for both householders a security measure. Williams subsequently complained, however, that Putnam had made off with furnishings of the Boston house. Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, XII, 57–64.

9See Jane Mecom to BF above, July 14.

1See above, Kinsey to BF, March 26; JW to BF, July 19.

2Fergusson was undoubtedly Henry Hugh, the Scottish husband of Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson (above, VII, 177 n); he went to England at the time and returned two years later: DAB under his wife. We have no evidence that Samuel W. Stockton (1751–95) enrolled in any of the Inns of Court, although that was his purpose. He carried two letters of introduction from Benjamin Rush, who soon afterward married his niece; copies of the letters are in the University of Virginia Library. Stockton’s correspondence with BF will appear in subsequent volumes when the young man was secretary to William Lee, the American commissioner to Vienna and Berlin, and his career is sketched in James Mc-Lachlan, Princetonians, 1748–1768 . . . (Princeton, 1976), pp. 622–5.

3Mrs. Magnus Falconar, William Hewson’s sister; see the note on Mary Hewson to BF below, Dec. 12.

4In the following document.

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