Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Anthony Todd, 16 January 1764

To Anthony Todd1

Extract:2 Public Record Office

[Philadelphia, January 16, 1764]


In my last3 I wrote you that Mr. Foxcroft, my Colleague, was gone to Virginia where and in Maryland some offices are yet unsettled. We are to meet again in April at Annapolis,4 and then shall send you a full Account of our Doings. I will now only just mention, that we hope in the Spring to expedite the Communication between Boston and New York, as we have already that between New York and Philadelphia, by making the Mails travel by Night as well as by Day, which has never heretofore been done in America. It passes now between Philadelphia and New York, so quick that a Letter can be sent from one place to another, and an Answer received the Day following, which before took a week,5 and when our Plan is executed between Boston and New York, Letters may be sent and answers received in four Days, which before took a fortnight; and between Philadelphia and Boston in Six days, which before required Three Weeks.6 We think this expeditious Communication will greatly encrease the Number of Letters from Philadelphia and Boston by the Packets to Britain.

Endorsed: Plans Genl. Extract of a Letter from Benja. Franklin Esqr. Depy. Postmaster Genl. of No. America to the Secry of the Post Office dated Janry 16. 1764, respecting the Communicatn carried on between New York and other Colonies by Post.

Read March 3. 1764. R. 46.

1For Todd, secretary of the British Post Office, see above, X, 217 n.

2This extract (C.O. 323: 17, f. 128) was sent by order of the postmaster general to John Pownall, secretary of the Board of Trade, “as it must be a great Satisfaction for them [the Board] to observe that the posts upon that extensive Continent are visible in a Course of Improvement.” Todd to Pownall, March 3, 1764, P.R.O., C.O. 323: 17, f. 126. It was read before the Board on March 3d. Board of Trade Journal, Jan. 1764–Dec. 1767, p. 29.

3Perhaps a letter, not found, written after BF returned to Philadelphia in November 1763 from his postal inspection trip to New England (see above, X, 276–9), or perhaps the “ample Report” on the American postal system which Todd on Jan. 28, 1764, said that he expected “by one of the two next Packet Boats”; see below, p. 38.

4There is nothing in any of BF’s surviving letters to indicate that this meeting took place.

5William Dunlap, postmaster at Philadelphia, advertised in Pa. Gaz., Jan. 5, 1764, “By Order of the Post-master General,” that mail for New York would be dispatched at 2 P.M. every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and that mail from New York would be expected at 10 A.M. on the same days.

6The dates of letters exchanged between BF and Francis Bernard printed in this volume do not suggest that the plan for improvement in the Boston-Philadelphia service had yet been put into effect by April of this year.

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