Benjamin Franklin Papers

Joseph Wright to William Temple Franklin, [c. 29 August 1782]

Joseph Wright9 to William Temple Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

[c. August 29, 1782]1

Dear Sir

I found at my return to Paris yesterday, that I am oblidged to be detained a Week longer, as every place was taken both in the Dilligence and Cabriole and there being no other Conveyance before then—and as I receiv’d your Packet this Morning perhaps your letter to Mr. Williams may require an immediate conveyance.— I return my sincere thanks for this continued instance of your grandfathers kindness— I could wish my situation here had put it in my Power to shew you that I had a sence of the friendship, I have received from him and yourself, but I find I have only more favours to ask— I could Wish he would give me leave to make another Copy of his Picture either in small or Large— As I wish to make a Present of to Mrs Beech or whatever Person he should think fit, the last I did, Mr Whitford has been pleased to take from me, I am fearful to ask, as I consider I may be in some Measure troublesome, and he must be tired of Seeing me so Constantly.

I remain Sr Sincerely Yours

Joseph Wright.

I had a great notion of Making it the Size of My Mothers, or the other little one you Saw, as it will be Portable, and yet sufficiently worked to keep the Likeness.2

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Franklin—fils / a Passy

Endorsed: Joseph Wright Août.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9The artist who had painted several oil portraits of BF during the summer of 1782: XXXVI, 223n; XXXVII, frontispiece, xxvii, 626–7n, 692. By early August Wright was trying to secure a passage to America; WTF tried to help him find a ship and the means. Elkanah Watson arranged for free passage on the Argo, a vessel Watson & Cossoul were outfitting at the time. The bond they cosigned with owner and commander Samuel R. Trevitt on Aug. 7 was forwarded to Passy by JW on Aug. 31: XXXVII, 668, 699; JW to WTF, Aug. 7 and 31 (APS); Winslow C. Watson, Men and Times of the Revolution; or Memoirs of Elkanah Watson … (New York, 1857), p. 138.

1The day Wright expected to leave Paris for Nantes. According to John Jay, who gave him letters for America, Wright thought he would leave on Aug. 29 (“last Thursday”) but revised that to the following Thursday, Sept. 5. Also on Aug. 29, Wright received a payment from Ferdinand Grand for the portrait BF gave Hodgson: Jay to Livingston, Sept. 4, 1782, quoted in Monroe H. Fabian, Joseph Wright, American Artist, 1756–1793 (Washington, D.C., 1985), pp. 37–8; XXXVII, 626n.

2Two small portraits of BF are known to be in private hands, though their origins are obscure and neither has been located: Sellers, Franklin in Portraiture, p. 426; Fabian, Joseph Wright, p. 89.

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