Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Henton Brown, 28 November 1761

From Henton Brown

Copy: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

B. Franklin Esqr.

London the 28th. Novr 1761.

Esteemed Friend

I did not fully speak to the Proposition respecting the £3000.9 as I had not any discourse with my Son1 respecting it in which affairs we always consult and act in concert. We have now considered the proposition maturely and think it of that nature that when thou comes to reconsider it in all its parts must appear a Thing not eligible for us. First because it may put us on any emergencies into the same condition thou art with respect to the sale of Stocks. Secondly the locking up so large a Sum for so long a time will manifestly be a great loss to us as by the lowness of Stocks and the purchase of Navy bills gives so great an advantage over common Interest. 3dly. in case of any prospect of a peace the money would be out of our power and we should lose the advantage of the rise of Stocks. 4thly. the nature of this business subjects us to unforeseen fluctuations and by which we are liable to sudden and peremptory calls arising from contingent circumstances together with our engagement and the great demands there will be for the new Loan renders such a dependance on our part not suitable, but that no disappointment may happen when the bills shall become due we will advance the £3000—to give opportunity to provide the money from private hands on condition that we shall be at full liberty to dispose of the Stock transferred to us when we shall think proper.2 I am for self and Son thy Obliged Friend

Henton Brown

The Broker has sold £1400 more since writing the above 82⅝3

Endorsed: Novr 28th 1761 Copy of Henton Brown (Banker) Letter, relating to the Bills4—recd Febry 13th. 1762. under Cover from Benja. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9It is not clear what this proposition was, but it seems likely that BF had asked his bankers to lend £3000 on the security of some of the Pa. stocks, so that BF could honor the bills of exchange he was receiving from the province without selling stocks at the current low price. When the price of stocks rose sufficiently the Browns would sell the security and repay their loan from the proceeds.

1James Brown; see the document immediately above.

2While declining BF’s original proposition, the Browns were apparently willing to lend him £3000 temporarily until he could make other arrangements.

3See above, p. 392.

4Up to this point the endorsement is in BF’s hand; the remainder is in that of Isaac Norris.

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