Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from H. Sykes, 24 April 1779

From H. Sykes

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris April the 24th. 1779—


I should have sent your Spectacles Sooner, but in Complyance with your favor of the 20th: inst:,1 have cut a Second Pair, in Which I have been Unfortunate, for I broke and Spoilt three Glasses, the Bearer will Deliver them, the Price is 18 l.t. a Pair, Which you may Pay him if you think Proper,2 I hope Sir, they will Please you, should anything be wanting, you will favor me with your Commands—

As you did not leave your hankerchief here, I hope Sir, you have found it, if not, Please to Recollect where you Call’d, and it is possible you may have left it Elsewhere, Believe me to be with Great Esteem Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

H Sykes

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin / Député des Etats Unies de / L’Amerique, / á Passy

Notation: h Sykes Paris 24 avril 1779.

1Not found.

2BF drafted a receipt on the verso of Sykes’s letter: “Received April 26. 1779 of B Franklin Thirty-six Livres in full of the within mentioned Charge; I say receiv’d for Mr Sykes per me.” He noted in his Cash Book (Account XVI; XXVI, 3) that on June 5 he paid Sykes 36 l.t. for spectacles. These may have been bifocals, which BF invented and is said to have worn since he was in his thirties. They helped him to understand French, he claimed, by bringing the speaker’s features into focus. To George Whately, May 23, 1785 (APS); Charles E. Letocha, “The Invention and Early Manufacture of Bifocals,” History of Ophthalmology, XXXV, no. 3 (Nov.–Dec., 1990), pp. 226–35.

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