Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Paradise and William Jones, 20 May 1779

From John Paradise and William Jones1

Reprinted from Jared Sparks, ed., The Works of Benjamin Franklin … (10 vols., Boston, 1836–40), VIII, 366n.

Hotel du Port Mahon, Rue Jacob, May 20th, 1779.

Mr. Paradise and Mr. Jones present their best respects to Dr. Franklin. They are just arrived at Paris; and, as they were desired by their worthy friends, Dr. Price and Dr. Priestley, to deliver to him their publications,2 they have left the books and letters at Passy, where they propose to have the honor of waiting upon the most respectable of patriots and philosophers, on any morning when they hear that he is likely to be at leisure.

1John Paradise (1743–95) was an unpublished scholar who hosted convivial gatherings of London artists and literary figures, most notably Dr. Samuel Johnson. He and his close friend William Jones, the celebrated Orientalist (XVIII, 201n), were fellows of the Royal Society and members of the Club of Honest Whigs. In 1769, Paradise had married Lucy Ludwell of Virginia, sister-in-law of William Lee. Fearing the loss of his wife’s portion of her family estate after the Sequestration Act, Paradise had made Jones his legal adviser. It was probably Jones who suggested that he seek BF’s assistance. DNB; Archibald B. Shepperson, John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell of London and Williamsburg (Richmond, Va., 1942), pp. 5, 11, 120, 136–8.

2Priestley had recently arranged to send a number of his pamphlets to BF, including a published correspondence with Richard Price; see his letters of March 11 and May 8. Price had lately reissued two works of 1776–77 as Two Tracts on Civil Liberty, the War with America, and the Debts and Finances of the Kingdom … (London, 1778). His latest publication was A Sermon, Delivered to a Congregation of Protestant Dissenters … (London, 1779), which asserted the sovereignty of the people and provoked controversy. See Roland Thomas, Richard Price, Philosopher and Apostle of Liberty (Oxford and London, 1924), pp. 86, 91–2.

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