Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Henton Brown, 26 November 1763

From Henton Brown9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Benj: Franklin Esqr

London Nov 26 1763

Esteemed Friend

I embrace this opportunity per the extra packett to acknowledge the receipt of the several letters1 and to transmitt a State of the account as it now Stands with us2—that drawn payable to Stevenson £25—has not yet appeared.3 I understand Richard Jackson Esqr. here is appointed Agent to the province of Pensilvania.4 I shall be greatly obliged if thou will be so good to recommend us to him to be bankers to the province as we were to the late Richd. Partridge deceased5—we are so to him for the province of Connecticut but have not Spoke to him on that of Pensilvania thinking it would be better taken and come with more weight by a recommendation from thee which we shall esteem as a favour.6 We have had very indefferent times. The failures at Holland and Hamburgh S. Touchett and others here7 have all contributed to the fall of the Stocks 10 and 12 per Cent and some more which has Scattered distress in various Shapes and been very extensive, to which may be added the unsettled State of the ministry—the Court has [a] great majority as appeared in the house upon the question relative to Wilkes North Brittain No. 45 which was 309 to 110.8 He has had a duel with Sam Martin late of the treasury was wounded with a shot in the belly but it is said he is like to recover9—the above paper is voted to be burnt by the hands of the Common Hangman and it is thought the authour above will be expelled but no farther proceedings will be against him untill he is able to attend the house.1

I am very respectfully for self and Son thy Obliged Friend

Henton Brown


Benjamin Franklin Esqr with Henton Brown & Son2

To Sundries per acct furnish’d3 £35780. 12
Ap 26.  To Stevenson4 20
June 14   do 30
23  Allison5 2. 10. 4
Aug 2  Strahan 25
31  Hall 8. 3. 10
Oct 11  Beale 2. 12. 6
£35,868: 18 8
 Stevenson6 60. 0. 0
 WF’s Ballance7 20. 17. 0
 Error Steevens on Grant of July 1. 1763
 that Bill being sent to Mrs. Stevenson8
20. 0. 0
 Geo. Dillwyn9 7. 3. 4
 Becket1 12. 0. 0
£35,988: 19: 0
 T Collinson2 31. 15. 3
 P. Collinson 2. 7. 6
36:023: 1: 9
May 1. Stevenson 20. 0. 0
By Sundries per acct furnished £35757. 18. 5
 Grant 20
 Sargent3 150
35927: 18: 5
35868. 18. 8
Balla: due to B F. 58: 19: 9
{ more the Order for Stevenson mention’d in this Letter suppos’d to be a Mistake for that of Strahan £25 which being included in the £35,780: 12. 0 should be carried to my Credit }
25. 0. 0
 Also Sturgeon on Waring4 7. 18. 0
July 1. 1763  Stevens on Grant 20. 0.
Jan. 1. 1764   Do on Do 20. 0
£131: 17: 9
Mar 17. 1764  Two Bills5 29. 0. 0
Apr. 11  one Do6 45. 0 0
May 5  one Do 49. 4. [5]
[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9For Brown, senior partner in Henton Brown & Son, BF’s banker during his first mission to England, see above, IX, 218–19 n.

1None of these have been found.

2This account is printed at the end of the present letter.

3A mistake by the Browns; see the account. The “Stevenson £25” here appears to have been inserted in a space left blank when the letter was first written.

4For Jackson’s appointment, April 2, 1763, see above, p. 247 n.

5Richard Partridge, formerly the agent of Pa., died on March 6, 1763.

6Whether by inadvertence or by design, BF appears not to have recommended Henton Brown & Son to Jackson.

7Gent. Mag., XXXIII (Aug. 1763), 411, reported the failure of 31 mercantile houses at Amsterdam and 14 at Hamburg. Samuel Touchet (c.1705–1773), M.P., Shaftesbury, 1761–68, was an important though apparently somewhat unscrupulous London merchant, who became a leading government contractor and financier. A friend and adviser of Charles Townshend, he recommended the duties which Townshend imposed upon America in 1767. Touchet stopped payment on Oct. 21, 1763, owing about £300,000. His failure and those in Holland and Hamburg were caused, though in some cases rather indirectly, by the failure of the Amsterdam banking house of Neufville on July 25, 1763. Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, III, 533–6.

8The vote in the House of Commons, Nov. 15, 1763, on whether John Wilkes’s North Briton No. 45 was libelous was 273 in the affirmative, 111 in the negative. An earlier vote on a technicality also went against Wilkes 300 to 111. Robert Rea, The English Press in Politics 1760–1774 (Lincoln, 1963), pp. 73–4.

9Samuel Martin (1714–1788), M.P., Camelford, 1747–68, Hastings, 1768–74; secretary of the Treasury, Nov. 1756–April 1757, April 1758–April 1763, was “one of the men closest to Bute” and was apparently attacked by Wilkes for this reason. In North Briton No. 37 Wilkes called Martin “a very apt tool of ministerial persecution” and in No. 40 “the most treacherous, base, selfish, mean, abject, low-lived and dirty fellow that ever wriggled himself into secretaryship.” Martin in the parliamentary debate of Nov. 15, 1763, repaid Wilkes in his own coin, calling him “a cowardly, malignant, and scandalous Scoundrel,” and the next day challenged him to a duel which was fought within hours and in which Wilkes received a painful wound in the side. Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, III, 114–16; George Nobbe, The North Briton (N.Y., 1939), pp. 174, 186, 245–50.

1For Wilkes’s expulsion from the House of Commons, see above, p. 366 n.

2In the MS the debit and credit columns are placed in parallel horizontally on the paper, but for typographical convenience they are printed here in sequence. All entries through the £35,868: 18 8 total in the debit column and all through the 58. 19: 9 balance in the credit column were in the account as sent to BF by Henton Brown. The remainder of each column, including the words “Balla: due to B F” in the credit column, is in BF’s hand, indicating his additions and revisions.

3Included in this large sum and the comparable sum in the credit column are almost certainly Pa.’s share of the parliamentary grant for 1758 (see above, IX, 241–2) and the funds which Isaac Norris sent BF during his first mission for the purpose of buying stock (see above, VIII, 147–8).

4For this and the following order, see a note to the document immediately above.

5In his Memorandum Book, 1757–1776 (above, VII, 167–8), BF noted, April 13, 1763, that he had drawn on the Browns for £2 10s. 4d. sterling “in favour of Mr. M. Allison of Falmouth being Balla. of his Acct for News Papers sent to our Printing Office.”

6See a note to the document immediately above.

7In his Memorandum Book BF recorded, March 29, 1764, sending the Browns a bill for £20 17s. sterling to cover a balance due them for WF.

8BF frequently sent bills to England drawn by Mrs. Mary Stevens (or Steevens) on Sir Alexander Grant; see, for example, above, VII, 368 n. On Dec. 8, 1763, he entered a query in his Memorandum Book “whether I sent to her [Mrs. Stevenson] or Messers. Brown, the last Bill on Sir Alexander Grant drawn July 1. 1763. by Mrs. Stevens here.” This bill and the one for £20 entered below may have comprised the £40 Mrs. Stevenson mentioned in her undated letter, below, p. 427.

9Recorded in Memorandum Book, May 17, 1764.

1On Aug. 10, 1764, the bookseller Thomas Becket (above, IX, 274 n) acknowledged receiving a letter from BF of June 17, 1764, enclosing a bill for £12.

2These bills in favor of Thomas and Peter Collinson are not entered in BF’s Memorandum Book nor referred to in surviving correspondence.

3On March 24, 1763, BF recorded sending the Browns a bill for £150 sterling, drawn by the trustees of the Pa. Loan Office on Sargent Aufrere.

4Recorded in Memorandum Book, Feb. 11, 1764.

5Recorded March 29, 1764.

6This and the next bill were recorded May 1, 1764. The 5d., missing from the end of the MS, is supplied from the Memorandum Book entry.

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