From Benjamin West
ALS: American Philosophical Society
London. Sepr. 7th. 1783—
I could not deprive myself the pleasure of convaying these few lines to you by my friend Mr. Dagge,4 he means to see you, and has been so Obliging to promis he would give this letter to you; I told him the jurney he was about to take, I almost envyed, as I should be happy to see you once more; Your friends hear have been flattering themselves with the pleasing expectation of seeing you once more among them on the return of pice; And altho they have been disappointed in that pleasure, are still loth to relinquish the pleasing thought and live in expectation of that indulgenc at some future period—. I shall be happy to hear from you, and that you are in health— My Dear Betsey5 desires to be kindly remembred to you, her health is much as usual, my Eldest son is well, I bring him up to my Profession he has great Abilities. My Youngest son (your Godson) I have at school, what will be his lot in life is not yet determined—he is in health—and upon the whole, they are promising Boys.6 Mr and Mrs. Aufrere of Chelsea have ever retained you in their good wishes and esteem, and desired when I last saw them, that whenever I wrote to you, their names might be mentioned, they are worthy people, and I have the greatest esteem for them.7 My Eldest son desires to be remembred to your grandson, his old Schoolmate,8 and flatters himself with the pleasure of seeing him in Paris in a year or two more, my compliments likewise to him.— And be Assured I am, with the greatest respect and esteem—Dear Sir Your Obliged and Obedient Humble Servent
Dr. Benjamin Franklin—
4. Henry Dagge, a member with BF of the Walpole Company and its legal representative; see, for example, XVI, 166–7; XXII, 102.
5. His wife, the former Elizabeth Shewell: XII, 43n.
6. Raphael Lamar West was 17; Benjamin West, Jr., BF’s godson, was 11: XIX, 274; XXXIII, xxviii; Robert C. Alberts, Benjamin West: a Biography (Boston, 1978), p. 72.
7. George Aufrere, a wealthy London merchant and banker (ODNB), was for many years the partner of BF’s banker and friend John Sargent. In the early 1760s their firm handled financial affairs for Pennsylvania: IX, 359n, and X, passim. Aufrere and his wife, Arabella Bate, knew BF well and owned a portrait of him: David Hancock, Citizens of the World (Cambridge and New York, 1995), pp. 99, 100, 314; Sellers, Franklin in Portraiture, pp. 333–4, 336–8; Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, II, 34. For portraits and busts of George and Arabella Aufrere see Hancock, Citizens of the World, pp. 72, 78, 365, 366.
8. Raphael must have attended James Elphinston’s boarding school in Kensington, where WTF was a student until February, 1775: XIII, 443.