Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Dixon, 19 January 1780

From John Dixon8

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Williamsburg Jan. 19, 1780.


I take the liberty to enclose under cover to your Excellency a letter for my Father who lives at Hull in Yorkshire, the old Gentleman has under his care William Royle my son in law,9 a youth, Nephew to the late worthy William Hunter Esqr. formerly joint postmaster General of North America with yourself;—1 He was sent to England when a child to be cut for the stone and continued there for his Education.

The favour which I now request, is to forward the enclosed by some safe conveyance; and if the Youth should be sent by way of France during the war, pray recommend him to the care of some good Captn. coming to Virginia, the expense of which I will most chearfully defray.— Mrs. Davenport2 and Mrs. Dixon sisters to the late Mr Hunter join in wishing you health, happiness, and prosperity with, Sir, Your Excellencys most obedt: & very hum. sert.

J Dixon.


Addressed: His Excellency B. Franklin Esq; / Minister and Plenipotentiary for the / United American States, at / Paris.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Dixon (d. 1791) printed the Virginia Gazette from 1766 to 1781 and served as postmaster in Williamsburg: XIII, 108n; XIX, 319; Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers 1690–1820 (2 vols., Worcester, Mass., 1947), II, 1403.

9Actually he was his stepson. William was the son of Joseph Royle (d. 1766), who printed the Virginia Gazette from 1761 to 1765 (XI, 415n; XIII, 108n, 289n), and his wife Rosanna Hunter Royle. Dixon married Rosanna after Joseph’s death: “Old Virginia Editors,” W&MQ, 1st ser., VII (1898–9), 14–15.

1BF’s friend Hunter (d. 1761) printed the Virginia Gazette from 1751 to 1761 (V, 18n; “Old Virginia Editors,” pp. 12–14) and was Rosanna’s brother.

2For Mary Davenport see XIX, 319–20n. Her daughter had recently married her cousin, Hunter’s son (who had become Dixon’s partner).

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