Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Richard Price, 19 May 1783

From Richard Price

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Newington-Green May 19th: 1783

Dear Sir

This letter will be deliver’d to you by Mr Slaney,7 a young Gentleman of fortune who has been for some time on his travels and is ambitious of the honour of being introduced to you. I am not personally acquainted with him; but the account given me of him by a friend of his and mine assures me, that he is a Gentleman of the best principles and character. Any notice wch: you may be pleased to take of him will, I believe, make him very happy. Before this will be deliver’d to you the new Edition of my Treatise on Annuities, population, public credit &c. will probably have reached you.8 Encouraged by the favourable reception wch: this work has met with I have in this edition enlarged it to two volumes, and taken great pains to make it as complete as possible. I reflect with pleasure that the part of it wch: is addressed to you will be the means of preserving some remembrance of our acquaintance and friendship. You will easily recollect the fact mentioned in the note p. 284, Vol. 1st: I have thot: there could be no impropriety in introducing it into this Edition.9

Wishing you all possible happiness, I am most affectionately Yours

Richd: Price

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Probably Robert Slaney (1764–1834) of Hatton Grange, Shropshire, who matriculated at Oxford in 1781. He seems to have been the Slaney who set out for a Grand Tour of Italy in May, 1782, and stayed at least through the following April: ODNB, under Robert Aglionby Slaney; John Burke and John Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland (2 vols., London, 1846), II, 1246; John Ingamells, comp., A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701–1800 (New Haven and London, 1997), p. 864; Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715–1886 … (4 vols., London, 1887–88), IV, 1306.

8It had not, as it was in one of the boxes shipped by Benjamin Vaughan, which did not leave London until early June: Dessin to BF, June 15. The work in question was the fourth edition of Observations on Reversionary Payments …, which Price had announced to BF the previous fall: XXXVIII, 320.

9The part addressed to BF was “Observations on the Expectations of Lives …” (1769), an essay written in the form of a letter to BF and referencing BF’s demographic works. While the essay had appeared in all previous editions, Price added a footnote on page 284 of the first volume, in which he explained the circumstances that had prevented a clause expressing sympathy with the American colonists from being published until now. For the full text of the footnote see XVI, 104n.

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