Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Wilkinson, 9 May 1783

From William Wilkinson3

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris May the 9th. 1783.


Mr Philip Nicklin an English Gentleman, going to Philadelphia to establish a House in the Linnen Trade in Connection with that of Dickinson Lloyd. & Nicklin in London and being an entire Stranger there is desirous of having a few Letters to some Persons of Note in that City; as several of My Friends in England interest themselves much in his Wellfare being a deserving Young Man; I should be perticularly obliged to You, Sir, if You would be so kind as to procure him an Introduction to some of Your Friends there.4 Being fully perswaded he will answer to the Utmost of Your Wishes the Obligation You will lay him under by this Favour; I have the honour to be very respectfully Sir Your most humble & obedient Servant5

William Wilkinson

a l’hotel du Parc Royal. Rue Colombier Faubourg St. Germains A Paris—

Addressed: A Son Excellence / Dr. Francklin / Ministre plenipotentiare des / Etats Unis de L’amerique septentrionale / A Passy

Notation: William Wilkinson Paris May 9. 1783

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3The English ironmaster: XXXIV, 175–6n.

4We have no record of whether BF provided Nicklin (1760–1806) with a recommendation, but once in Philadelphia he reported that Nicklin had married and was “much esteemed”: BF to Priestley, July 29, 1786 (Library of Congress). A native of Devonshire, England, Nicklin prospered as a merchant and was later appointed one of the directors of the Bank of Pennsylvania and the Insurance Company of North America: W. A. Newman Dorland, “The Second Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry,” PMHB, XLIX (1925), 190–1; Pa. Gaz., June 19, 1793.

5Also on May 9 Wilkinson sent a note to BF accepting a dinner invitation for the following Sunday on behalf of himself and “Miss Wilkinson.” APS. This might have been his sister Margaret (the only sister who was as yet unmarried, as far as we know), or perhaps his niece May (Mary): Norbert C. Soldon, John Wilkinson (1728–1808), English Ironmaster and Inventor (Lewiston, N.Y., Queenston, Canada, and Lampeter, Wales, 1998), pp. 23, 32–3, 212; H. W. Dickinson, John Wilkinson, Ironmaster (Ulverston, England, 1914), pp. 17–18.

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