Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Prichard, 10 June 1776

From William Prichard2

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. June 10th 1776.

Honoured Sir,

After being so far indebted to your clemency, nothing could give me more uneasiness than to be obliged to desire your assistance a second time, did not your former kindness encourage me to hope for a continuance of your favours. I have applied to several printers since my arrival in town, but have not been able to get employ, the want of paper having rendered work very scarce. Your honor has a quantity of old types3 and a press, which if you would be pleased to let me have for a short time, I doubt not I could get my living by them, as I have met with a friend or two who have offered me the printing of several small things if I could do them speedily. I shall take great care to weigh the types at taking them away, and return them safe whenever required, and thankfully pay your honour for the use of them; and if your honour would please to let me have those pamphlets and books in the Store to sell on commission, I should take a great care in rendering a proper account of all received, and pay for them regularly as I may chance to dispose of them. If your honour should have so good an opinion of my services and intentions, as to grant my request, it shall forever be remembered with gratitude, by Honoured Sir, Your faithful and affectionate Servant

Wm. Prichard.

Addressed: To / The Hone. B. Franklin Esqr.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2We know nothing more than this letter tells about the writer’s background and difficulties. He seems to have been a recent arrival in Philadelphia, and he stayed in the city. The earliest book that he is known to have published was in 1782; four years later he owned a bookstore and circulating library and held book auctions until 1792. In 1798 a bookseller of the same name appeared in Richmond, Va. Charles Evans, American Bibliography (13 vols., Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–55), VI, 167; XII, 419; George L. McKay, American Book Auction Catalogues (New York, 1937), p. 3.

3Doubtless what BF had sent from London in 1774: above, XXI, 102, 210, 245.

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