[Here first printed from the manuscript in the American Philosophical Society. Josiah Flagg had come from Virginia to Philadelphia, after letters to Franklin dated January 24 and February 18 and now in the American Philosophical Society, to visit his uncle and had been hospitably received. He had come by water, in the company of a Captain Robinson who had introduced the youth to Franklin: probably Isaiah Robinson, of Philadelphia, who had carried letters between Deborah Franklin and her husband and had commanded the armed vessel Andrea Doria during the war. Josiah, asking his grandmother not to give away the secret that he had "spun out three Years under the patronage of St Crispin" (that is, worked as a shoemaker), caused her to accuse him of "Ridiculous Vanety" in her letter of May 3, and of the want of "Verasity" mentioned in her letter of July 21. On May 3, sending Josiah's letter of April 17 to Franklin, she asked him to return it, but this seems to have been overlooked and the letter remained among the Franklin Papers.]
Philadelphia April 17. 1786
I have the pleasure to inform you of my Safe arrival in this City from Virginia after a passage of fourteen Days, which in good weather is accomplish'd in three prior to my Intention of Visiting this place, I wrote my Uncle Franklin, and he was kind enough to Honour me with a favourable Answer. I was Introduc'd to him by Capt. Robinson a Citizen of Phila who came passenger with me, and was received in a very cordial and Affectionate manner. I expect to be employ'd in writing for him three or four months, and if you would use your Influence with him in a Recommendation of me, it may perhaps be attended with favourable Consequences. I endeavour to behave as well as my slender Education and Knowledge of the World will admit,--No mans Abilities are so remarkably shining, as not to stand in need of the praises of a Friend, a patron, and even a proper Opportunity to Recommend them to the Notice of the World.
If you will be kind enough to point out to his Excellcy my good Intentions, and the Character which I have ever sustaind Unblemish'd, it may have a pleasing Effect.--I was Candid with him in telling of my indigent Circumstances, but I never told