Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from [Jonathan Williams, Jr.], 3 September 1776

From [Jonathan Williams, Jr.]

AL: American Philosophical Society

London Sept. 3. 1776.

Dear and honored Sir

I have just heard of an Opportunity by which a Letter may possibly reach you, therefore sit down to acknowledge the Receipt of yours of the 29th March.

We are constantly wishing to hear from you again, all your Friends are extreemly anxious to know where you are and how you do: they are all well. You ask me if I am married, I am sorry to say I am not, nor am I likely to be, there are some Requisites which I can’t at present command that I fear will prove an insurmountable Bar. Mr. A. says when I am master of £2000 and in Business, he will give me £3000 more, but it will be a long Time before I shall be in that Situation, and in the mean Time some other man may be more successfull. How can you suppose that I am turn’d Tory? If I thought you were serious in this indeed Sir it would hurt me, for I had rather part with my Life than my principles. If I dared say all I think, or could do all I wish, I should not be thought to deserve that name. I have often regretted that I was not in the Way when you sail’d.5 I did not follow because I never expected Things would have come to this pass, and because you advised such a plan as I have since adopted.

I am to be settled in a few Weeks and in a few years I hope to be in a tolerable Situation. If we were once more at peace and I had frequent Opport[unity] of being with you, I should not wish for a better.

I sometimes hear from France, by the last Letter I had, your Friends there were well. I find New Jersey have appointed an agent, but I am afraid he will have little Business to do.6

I have inform’d Mrs. S. of this Opportunity but I don’t know if she will have Time to write she and our Friend at Kensington with the little ones are all well. I am with the greatest Respect and Esteem Yours most dutifully and affectionately7

Addressed: Doctor Franklin / Market Street / Philadelphia

Endorsed: Old Letters not receiv’d till April 1786 Stevenson Hewson Williams8

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5JW had been in France at the time of BF’s departure. For the other matters in this paragraph see the letter that he is answering. “Mr. A.” was William Alexander.

6JW had acted as unofficial agent for a time in 1775, until the N.J. Assembly appointed Dennis DeBerdt, Jr., as BF’s successor; see the note on JW to BF above, July 19, 1775.

7“Williams” has been added in another hand. “Mrs. S.” was of course Mrs. Stevenson and “our Friend” Polly Hewson.

8See the note on Polly Hewson to BF above, Dec. 12. That letter and this one were unquestionably in the packet sent to RB, which he kept for more than a decade. So in all likelihood were Polly’s two letters below, Sept. 5 and 8, her mother’s above of Nov. 16 and Sept. 3 (which she sent together), and JW’s below of Sept. 19.

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