Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Dickinson, 22 December 1783

From John Dickinson

ALS: Harvard University Library

Philadelphia December 22d. 1783


Mr. Vernon1 proposing to return from a Visit to America thro France, and earnestly desiring to have the Honor of your Acquaintance, I cannot forbear complying with the Wishes of a Gentleman recommended by his Politeness and his favorable Dispositions towards this Country.

I am with the sincerest Esteem Sir, your most obedient & hble servant

John Dickinson

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esquire

Notation: John Dickinson 22 Decr. 1783.—

1This must be Henry Vernon (1748–1814) of Hilton Park, Staffordshire, who in late 1783 accompanied Polish poet Tomasz Węgierski on a journey through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New England. As far as we can determine, Vernon did not go to Passy until April, 1785, a few days after meeting JW at a dinner hosted by a mutual friend. Vernon showed JW several letters of introduction to BF that he was carrying. Based on the nature of those letters, JW immediately invited him, his brother-in-law Richard Dawson (with whom he was traveling), and Mr. Arthur (the mutual friend) to dine at Passy the following Saturday. Writing to inform WTF of this, JW described Vernon as “an English Gentleman of Family” and “brother to the famous Lady Grosvenor,” who had recently traveled in America: JW to WTF, [April 6 or 13, 1785], APS; John Burke and John Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland (2 vols., London, 1846), II, 1478, 1550; Edmund Lodge, The Peerage of the British Empire … (2nd ed., London, 1833), pp. 120–1; Miecislaus Haiman, Poland and the American Revolutionary War (Chicago, 1932), pp. 119–33; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, XXVII, 181.

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