Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Alexander John Alexander, 26 July 1781

From Alexander John Alexander9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Grenada 26th July 1781

Dear Sir

Permit me to Introduce to your Acquaintance a very Old Friend of mine, Mr Robert Young,1 whose friendship I have experienced upon many Occasions, but more particularly lately, since this Island became French; when it became necessary for my friends, to Ballance by their Activity, that Improper Influence, which you know has been so much employed against me in France, & which has likewise been extended here. I own I am very anxious to make him acquainted with a man, whose Genius, & Judgement as a Philosopher, has rendered him long so Emminent; & who forced into Politicks so late in life, has made so conspicuous a figure.

Allow me to return you my most grateful thanks for the protection which I myself, & those I hold dearest in the World have constantly received from you, but Independent of Interest, I shall always consider the days I have spent at Passi, as the most pleasant of my Life. I should be too happy were it possible to pass the remainder of life in the Neighbourhood of such a Monitor, but I am afraid that is Impossible; it would even be some Consolation, could I see the most distant prospect of doing some material service to you, or yours. I am with all possible respect Dear Sir Your Most Obt & Humble Servt

A: J: Alexander

I am endeavouring to collect the Electrical Phenomena during the last Hurricane here which I am perswaded will give you pleasure.

Notation: J. Alexander, Grenada 26 July 1781.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9At the end of 1779, A.J. Alexander, William’s brother, had asked BF’s help in interceding with the French government about his legal tangles concerning real estate holdings in Grenada. He also needed a passport to allow him to travel there: XXXI, 242n. When he wrote the present letter, he had only just arrived in Grenada after having “made a dreadful long voyage of it,” as he wrote in a letter of this same date to WTF. He had made his way to London, where he was detained on account of the outbreak of war with Holland, and had only arrived in St. Eustatia two months earlier. It had taken him that long to make his way, finally, to Grenada, and he reported to WTF the alarming rumors about the war that he had heard along the way. APS.

1Alexander described him to WTF, in the letter cited above, as the brother of Gov. Young of Tobago. He evidently was seeking employment. WTF recommended him to JW, who agreed to allow him to come to Nantes so that they could meet. Young left Passy on Aug. 24: JW to WTF, Aug. 9, and WTF to JW, Aug. 24 (APS). De Grasse captured Tobago on June 2.

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