Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Patience Wright, 23 December 1777

From Patience Wright

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Bath th 23d Decmbr7 1777

The Barer of this is Mr. George Searle at whos request I gave him this, your address. He is the Person that has advanc’d the Twenty guineas for my Bill on you, of this date, drawn for the Use of Mr. Platt and is otherways our good Friend,8 and I have once more the honour to Subscribe my Self your honor’s most oblig’d humble Servant

Patience Wright9

To the Right Honrable Dr B: Franklin at Passy near Paris.

Addressed: To / Miss Phebe Wright / at the waxwork / Pallmall / London

Endorsed: Mrs Wright 28 Decr: 1777.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7In his endorsement, BF interpreted her “3” as “8”. The 28th is impossible because BF, according to a dated entry in the Waste Book confirmed by another in a second account, repaid on the 27th the money that Searle had advanced; hence this letter was by then in Paris. But the 23rd seems also impossible; she must have written earlier. Some time between the 17th and 24th her daughter in London sent her the news mentioned here, that the money had been forthcoming from Searle; see the postscript of Elizabeth’s letter above of the 17th. The mother, in Bath, responded with the present note, which she sent to her other daughter in London to forward to BF. We cannot believe that a letter we know was in France by the 27th took only four days to get there from Bath via London.

8This is Searle’s only appearance in her extant correspondence with BF. He could have been the George Searle who was an heraldic painter from Newburyport, for whom see George C. Groce and Donald H. Wallace, eds., The New York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America . . . (New Haven and London, 1957). If he was in Europe at the time, of which we have no evidence, he might naturally have sought out the Wrights as fellow American artists.

9The way she sent the letter, to her younger daughter Phoebe for delivery to Searle, explains her signing her real name, as she did not when writing BF by post.

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