Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Patience Wright, 14 March 1779

From Patience Wright

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Lysle Hous no 4 facing Leslefield
March 14th 1779

Dear Sir/

I have moved from Pall mall with the full Purpose of mind to settel my afair and get Ready for my Return to america—8

I shall take France in my way and call at Parris where I hope to have the Pleasur of seeing my old american Friend—: and take off some of your cappatall Bustos in Wax— England will very Soon be no longer a pattron for artists—the Ingeneous must flye to the Land of Peace & Liberty—as I Intend to make good Use of my time While I Stay at Parris I shall be hapy to meet with the Same Encouregment as I have meet with in England, (at my first Coming before the unfortunat war).

I shall be glad before I set out to have your opinion I beg the favor of you to Recomend my Perfformens and as you Know my abillites in taking Likeness in Wax Work I am hapy to have the Pleasing Prospect of doing your Recomendation Honour by my Best performance. It is with the Right gratitod to my Friends and Perticurly to yoù I owe the grat Encouregment my Jenei9 meet in London, and now come to France Improved and in high Spirits with the most faithful and afectanat Servt to Comand I am Honered Sir yor old Friend

P: Wright

“I long to See you and love you more then Ever if I dont write to you it is not for want of good will but for fear of being troubelson”1—would to God you would sind for me.— My Servises are worthy of the Planeypotenterey of amerrica

For My Gardien Spirit the great Philosphe and american Agent.

Addressed: For / Benja: Franklin / att Passey / ner Parris

Notation: D. Wrigt Mars 1779.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8BF’s old friend (XIX, 93n) had moved her home and waxwork studio from the fashionable Pall Mall near St. James’s Palace to Leicester Square and then to Charing Cross. Her outspoken advocacy of American independence had angered the government leaders who formerly had flocked to her. Charles Coleman Sellers, Patience Wright: American Artist and Spy in George III’s London (Middletown, 1976), pp. 53, 135, 138.

9She had lately been credited “not with genius but with genii, and she herself was wearing the tag with satisfaction.” Ibid., p. 135.

1Sellers speculates that the quotation marks were used to emphasize her distress at having had no reply to so many appeals: ibid., p. 136.

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