Benjamin Franklin Papers

James Parker: Final Report on the Franklin and Hall Accounts, 1 February 1766

James Parker:
Final Report on the Franklin and Hall Account

ADS: Haverford College Library (2 copies), Historical Society of Pennsylvania (1 copy)

According to the agreement between Franklin and David Hall, Jan. 1, 1748 (above, III, 263–7), their printing partnership was to commence on Jan. 21, 1748 (new style), and continue for eighteen years. The agreement provided that Franklin was to furnish the presses, type, and other printing equipment; Hall was to assume direct charge of the business, including the “working Part of Printing,” the “disposing of Work printed,” and the collection of all money due, and he was to pay the costs of these operations. Charges for all such supplies as paper and ink, for “common Repairs” to the presses, the rent of the building, and all bad debts, and all monetary receipts were to be equally shared by the partners. At the end of the partnership Hall should have the right to buy the presses, type, and other materials, if he desired, “at their present Value,” but allowing “a reasonable Abatement” for their wear during the period of use.

When Franklin was about to leave Philadelphia for England in November 1764 he gave a power of attorney to James Parker to examine all the books and other records in Hall’s possession, to appraise the printing equipment (Hall had expressed a wish to buy it), and to “make a final Ending of all Accounts” between the two men (above, XI, 441–3). Parker was to send a preliminary report on his examination of the accounts to Franklin at least six months before the expiration of the partnership. Just how Parker was to be compensated for the time and labor he would spend on this business does not appear in any surviving paper.

Parker spent thirteen days on this task in February 1765 and three more in June, then sent Franklin a preliminary report covering the records he had so far examined. That report is printed above, XII, 176–82. In August 1765 he sent a second report that included a few additional entries, most of them merely carrying forward the summaries of Hall’s receipts in specific categories since the report of June. The added entries are printed above, XII, 242.

On January 16, 1766, Parker was only just recovering from a severe attack of gout but managed to get to Philadelphia, and during the rest of the month he completed his detailed report and then sent it to Franklin in London. It is organized in the same general manner as the preliminary reports. On the left half of a large sheet are the entries of money for which Franklin should be debited, on the right hand those for which Hall was charged. Parker divided the entries on each side into sections or “Articles” to which he gave numbers. For convenience and easier reference the editors have here designated the sections as A-1, A-2, A-3, and B-1, B-2, B-3, respectively, in the same manner as was done in printing the two preliminary reports in the last volume. At the bottom of each half sheet of the final report Parker added a summary of the “Articles” above, showing the totals to be debited to each partner according to the terms of the agreement, and striking a final balance. Many of the entries in the “Articles” are repetitions of ones found in the two preliminary reports, and reference may be had to those documents for explanatory information in their appended notes. In a few instances the present full report clarifies matters not adequately set forth in its predecessors.

As drawn up and balanced, this account showed that Franklin owed Hall £993 11s. 6d. Parker accompanied his long report with a letter explaining some details (printed below, pp. 104–10). Franklin gave both papers careful study and then drew up a series of “Observations” (below, pp. 110–16), which the reader should use in connection with the report itself, since they show what Franklin considered to be the inadequacies of numerous entries. In April 1767 he promised to send this paper to Hall but never did so, and his long-continued absence from Philadelphia prevented the former partners from ever getting together to clear up questionable details. Hall died in 1772. The account between Franklin and Hall’s estate, printed as the next document after this one, starts off with the balance of £993 11s. 6d. shown by the present report as owned by Franklin; it includes no credits or debits caused by corrections of any of the entries printed in the present report. It seems probable that Parker’s figures were never revised.

All the three copies of this report that have been found are in Parker’s hand and bear his dating and signature at the bottom of the first column. There are a few variations in phraseology from copy to copy, none of any significance. In his letter of February 3 explaining the report Parker indicated that copies were going to England by two different ships. One of the two copies in the Haverford College Library is the only one of the three that bears an endorsement in Franklin’s hand. Since this endorsement establishes that Franklin certainly received this copy, it is the one used for the present printing. The individual entries in it, however, are unnumbered, though they are numbered in the other two. In his “Observations” on the report Franklin referred to the entries by their numbers, showing that he also received at least one such numbered copy. For convenience in comparing Franklin’s comments with the entries they concern, the editors have taken the liberty of prefacing each entry in the printed text below with the numbers found in the other two surviving copies.

As stated with the first of these reports, descriptions of several of the Franklin & Hall accounts that Parker used, are given above, III, 270–1, 276.

[February 1, 1766]

NUMB. 1. [A-1]1

1 Account of Money paid by D. Hall: to B. Franklin, from March 1747/8. to March 1. 1765. as per several Receipts in B.F’s own Writing appears, examin’d per J. Parker 7849 7 4¾.
2 Account of Money, paid by D. Hall for Bills of Exchange sent to England, to B.F. from June 1757. to February 1765, as per D.H’s Accounts, examin’d per J. Parker 4776 19 6 
3 Account of Sundries had in Mr. Hall’s Shop, and Cash lent at sundry Times by D. Hall to B Franklin, as per Account, examined per J. Parker, March 1. 1765 541 2 1¾.
4 Account of 4000 Poor Richard’s Almanacks sent to Rhode Island, by B. Franklin’s Orders from 1752 to 1761. inclusive (stiching deducted) 62 13 4 
Ditto of 1900 Pocket Almanacks sent per Do as per Account 31 13 4 
5 Account of Sundries had, in D. Hall’s Shop, and Cash lent at sundry Times by D.H. to Mrs. Franklin from March 1. 1765. to Jan. 28. 17662 examin’d per JP. 407 3 5 
6 Account for the Book Noetica, being for Mr. Franklin,3 which in the Work-Book is charged at 25 0 0 
7 Account for 300 Young Men’s Companion sent to Mr. Hunter, by B.F.4 (the whole chargd at 4s.) 60 0 0 
8 Account of Cash paid for Baskerville’s Bible, for Miss Sally, Gilt and bound in Turkey charged at £6 5s.5 Sterl. Exchange then at 160 10 0 0 
9 Account for Work done for the Post-Office, in 1752, 1754, and 1756. Paper included, as exam’d per JP. 11 3 6 
10 Account for printing 300 Copies of a Petition to the King, in 1764.6 fine Paper, and Covering, the One Half of it, and Paper, amounting to 2 19 9 
11 Account of Money paid by D. Hall, on Mr. Franklin’s Account, to Mr. Strahan in England, at Sundry Times, as exam’d per JP. being £82 8s. 6d. Sterl. Exchange 170. is 140 2 3 
13918 4
12 [nb.7 By a Receipt of B.F.’s writing, he acknowledges to have had £26 13s. 6d. of D.H. on Account of Sally’s Books Feb. 25. 1749. from whence it seems D.H. had some of her Books for Sale: but no other Account appearing about it. J.P. can say Nothing further: but D.H. thinks some of the Money he paid to Mr. Strahan, was on the Account of those Books, and possibly B.F. may have repaid him some of that Money back: and therefore submits it to B.F.]

NUMB. 2. [A-2]8

13 Account of Money paid by D. Hall, for Paper, to the several Paper Makers. and to March 6. 1765, as per Receipts and Vouchers, examin’d per J Parker 4298 9 0 
14 Account of Money paid for 163½ lb. Lampblack from 1749. to June 13. 1765, examin’d by JP 40 17 6 
15 Account of Incidentals paid by D. Hall. for the Use of the Office, from 1749. to June 13. 1765. as per Account, exam’d JP. 584 1
16 Account of Money paid by D. Hall, for Printing-Ink, English News-papers, &c. as per Book, examined per J. Parker amounting to £172 5s. 7d. Sterl. Exchange 170, is 292 17 3 
17 Account of Incidents paid by D.H. for the Office, from June 13. 1765. to January 28. 1766, examin’d per JP. 18 5 11 
18 Account of Money paid by D.H. for Paper to the several Paper Makers, from March 6. 1765. to February 1. 1766. as per Receipts, examined per J Parker 524 6 6 
19 Account of Writing Paper of different Sorts furnished by D. Hall, for sundry Jobs printed, as charged in the Leidgers, and examin’d by J Parker 153 13 7 
20 Account of Parchment, furnished by D.H. for sundry Jobs, charged as above, and examined per J Parker 52 7 6 
5964 18

NUMB. 3. [A-3]9

21 Account of Money received by B. Franklin for printing Work, charged in the Leigders from Jan. 26. 1748. to Feb. 1765. as examined per J P. 219 18 11¼
22 Account of Money received by B. Franklin for Gazette, from Jan. 1748. to July 15. 1749, as had his Name affixed exd per JP. 24 2 6 
23 Account of Money received by B.F. in Account with Th. Lightfoot, as per his Account in settling with D.H. for Gazette 2 17 6 
24 Account of Money received by B.F. for the Gazette, after July 15. 1749. to 1765. as exam’d per J Parker 448 10 3 
25 Account of Money received by B.F. for Wm. Ramsey’s1 Books, as per Mr. F.s Account, examin’d per J P. 91 4 0 
786 13
[Gen]eral [Ac]count
Dr. Benjamin Franklin. Esqr in Account with David Hall
26 To the Whole of the above Account, Number 1 13918 4
27 To the Half of the above Account Numb. 2 2982 9
28 To the Half of the above Account, Numb. 3. 393 6 7
17294 0
Errors excepted Phila. Feb 1. 1766 per J Parker.

NUMB. 1. [B-1]2

29 Account of Money received by D. Hall for publick Work from Nov. 1756. to March 1765. as examined per J. Parker, (the Publick work before Nov. 1756, had been settled before) 2182 19
30 Account of Money received by D. Hall, for publick Work, from New Castle, Kent and Sussex, from 1756. to 1764, as examin’d per J. Parker (the work here before 1756. had been settled) 242 16 8 
31 Account of Money received by D. Hall for Advertisements paid for when brought in, in the Gazette, from Jan. 26. 1748 to February 21. 1765. as examin’d per J. Parker3 3312 17 8 
32 Do of the same, from Feb. 21. 1765. to August 22. 1765. as examin’d by J Parker 212 2 6 
33 Account of Money received by D. Hall, for single Advertisements, Blanks, and other Work done in the Office, for ready Pay, from Jan. 26. 1748. to Feb. 16. 1765. as examin’d per J. Parker.4 484 14 9 
34 Do of the same from Feb 16. 1765. to Jan. 17. 1766. as examin’d per JP 14 16 6 
35 Account of Money received by D. Hall, for printing Work, &c. charged in the Leidgers, from Jan. 21. 1748. to February 25. 1765. as examin’d per J Parker5 2393 12
36 Do of the same from Feb. 25 1765. to August 22. 1765. As examin’d per JP 513 5 0 
37 Account of Money received by D. Hall, on Account of the Gazette, from July 15. 1749, to March 1. 1765, as in the four Books examined by J Parker6 9683 15
An Error in the first casting it up, and carried to the End, makes it more 8 16 6 
38 Account of Ditto, from March 1. 1765. to Aug. 22. 1765, as examined by JP 871 18 11½
39 Account of Money received by D. Hall for Entrance Money for the Gazette, from 1748. to January 17. 1766. as examin per JP 1620 14 0 
40 Account of Money received by D. Hall for Gazette, viz by James Hunter, Esqr
By Stratton Burton, Snowhill Post 43:0:0
By John Wise, Do 37:5:0
152 14 2 
41 Account of Almanacks printed and Sold by D. Hall, from 1752. to 1765. inclusive (those printed before 1752. has been settled)
Poor Richards, 141,257 at 4d. (stiching deducted) 2213 0 8 
Pocket Ditto 25,735 at 6d. 643 7 6 
Jerman’s Ditto7 5,197, at 3½ exclusive of Copy paid for and stiching 69 11
42 Account of Primers printed by D. Hall from 1749. to 1765.8 being 35,100, at 2½d. each 365 12 6 
43 Account of Blanks printed for the Shop, being 109 Ream, and 18 Quire, (Paper deducted) as per Account examin’d per J Parker 482 18 6 
44 Account of Money received by D. Hall for the Gazette, from Aug. 22. 1765. to Jan. 17. 1766: as examin’ per JP. 518 10
Do of Ditto, per John Jones9 of the Lower Counties paid to D. Hall in July 1765 80 0 0 
Do of Ditto per Hunter and Glassel of Virginia,1 paid D. Hall, Jan. 2. 1766 54 0 8 
45 Account of Money received by D.H. for Advertisement paid in the Gazette, from Aug. 22. 1765. to Jan. 17. 1766. exam’d per JP. 114 12 0 
46 Account of Money received by D.H. as charged in the Leidgers, from Aug. 22. 1765. to Jan. 17. 1766. examin’d per J P.2 117 4 3 
47 Account of Money received by D. Hall, for Books and Pamphlets, printed and sold in the Shop, from the Beginning to January 18. 1766. as examin’d per J Parker 1118 14 4 
48 Account of 2000 Primers printed by D.H. between March 1765. and February 1.1766, at 2½d.3 20 16 8 
49 Account of 4000 Catechisms,4 (omitted before, chief Part unsold) at 4½ 75 0 0 
50 Account of Mr. Peters’s Sermons sold by D. Hall, exclusive of those taken by the Academy5 14 11 4 
51 Account for nine Half Sheets Dilworth’s Spelling Books now done 2000, in Number (5 Half Sheets not done)6 83 6 8 
52 Allowance for Sale of Votes, Laws, Indian Treaties, during the Partnership, (guess’d at) 200 0 0 
53 Account for 9771 of Poor Richard’s Almanacks for 1766,7 at 4d.—and 1000 Pocket ditto, at 6d. 187 17 0 
54 Account for a Pamphlet just printed, called Meditations, &c.8 500 done, but suppose one half may sell at 9d. 9 7 6 
55 Account of printing Paper remaining in D.H.’s Hands, Feb. 1. 1766. with which the Partnership has been charged, exam’d per J P. 70 10 0 
56 Account for 40 Ream of Waste Paper of Old News-papers &c. in D.H.’s Hands, as made out Jan. 22. 1766. exam’d per JP at 5s. 10 0 0 
57 Account of Money received, from Jan. 17. 1766. to Feb 1. 1766. for News, Advertisements, the Leidgers, &c. 57 10 9 
58 Allowance for 4400 of Moore’s Almanacks9 at 3½d. omitted above 64 3 4 
28266 0 3 

NUMB. 2. [B-2]1

Account of Paper furnished by B. Franklin, viz
59 638 Ream and 8 Quire of Propatria Size for Newspaper. From 1747/8. to Aug. 2. 1750, at 7s. 6d. 239 8 4 
60 1475 Ream and 8 Quire of Demi. for Newspapers from Aug. 2. 1750. to January 1756 at 11s. 811 10 0 
61 178 Ream of Demi, for Almanacks from 1752. to 1756. at 11s. 97 18 0 
62 208 Ream of Pott—used for Primers, Sermons and Jerman’s Almanacks—at 7s. 6d. 78 2 6 
63 11 Ream 10 Quire of Law paper, for the Pocket Almanack at 10s. 5 16 0 
64 192 Ream of Demi used in sundry Work, &c. at 11s. 105 12 0 
65 70 Ream of Propatria Size, used in sundry Work at 7s. 6d. 26 5 0 
66 21 Ream 2 Quire of Law-Paper used in sundry Work, &c. at 10s. 10 11 6 
67 (All other Paper furnished by Mr. Franklin had been settled before with D.H. except some small Jobs, as Play-Bills &c. for which is allowd) 10 0 0 
1385 3 4 

NUMB. 3. [B-3]2

68 An Account of Books and Stationary, left in the Shop by B.F. at the Beginning of the Partnership, as examined by J Parker3 681 1 0 
69 1754. June 17. Cash paid to D. Hall, by B Franklin, on Account, examin’d per JP 86 4 11 
70 1758. June. A Bill of Exchange return’d by B F. to D.H. 162 10 0 
71 A Ballance due to B F. on Th: Chalkley’s Book as per Account in the Leidger, pag. 326. examin’d per JP 15 15 10 
72 1766. The Printing Materials an Account of which taken Jan. 27. 1766.4 and Valued by J Parker at 313 10 0 
£1259 1 9 

General Account

 Contra Cr.
73 By One Half of the above Sum from Numb. 1 14133 0
74 By One Half of the Sum from Numb. 2 692 11 8 
75 By the Whole of the Sum of the Account Numb. 3 1259 1 9 
76 By Cash received by D.H. for Gazette and Sundries, before the Partnership began, and yet charged above in No. 1 of the Cr. side 123 2
77 By Do received by B.F. for Do. before the Partnership began, and yet charged in No. 3 of the Debtor side 92 13
16300 8 11¼
By Ballance due to David Hall, Feb. 1. 1766 993 11 6 
17294 0

Endorsed: Valuation between Franklin & Hall by J. Parker

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

1The first four entries in this section appeared in Parker’s first report; entries 5–12 are new.

2Probably part of the money lent to DF during this period had been to help her make the down payment of £500 on the Syddon lot in September 1765; above, XII, 283–6, 351–2.

3Samuel Johnson (of Connecticut), Noetica: Or the Principles of Human Knowledge, published by Franklin & Hall in 1752 with Johnson’s Ethices under the general title of Elementa Philosophica. See above, III, 478 n; IV, 63, 71, 107, 108, 146, 261; V, 157. Apparently BF had originally assumed full financial responsibility for his friend’s somewhat unprofitable book, rather than make it a partnership matter.

4[“Mrs. Slack”], The American Instructor: Or, Young Man’s Best Companion . . . By George Fisher, Accomptant. The Ninth Edition, Revised and Corrected was published by Franklin & Hall, 1748, and the Tenth Edition in 1753 (Evans, 6238, 7120). BF had apparently had 300 copies of one edition or the other sent to William Hunter in Williamsburg for sale there. In his “Observations” BF proposed that Hunter’s account be examined to see if these copies had been charged to the Virginian.

5For John Baskerville’s folio edition of the Bible, see above, IX, 257 n.

6Above, XI, 145–7.

7The brackets surrounding this note are in the original.

8The first three entries in this section appear in Parker’s first report; entries 16–20 are new.

9The first three entries in this section appeared in Parker’s first report, the fourth in his second report; only entry 25 is new.

1In BF’s Ledger D, p. 126, is an account between BF and “Mr. Wm. Ramsey” running from 1742 to 1752. One entry, dated Jan. 16, 1749, records a cash payment of £11 11s. ½d. by Ramsey “towards his book now printing,” but the book has not been certainly identified. One William Ramsey (d. 1785) is mentioned elsewhere as a founder and leading merchant of Alexandria, Va., and a Masonic friend of George Washington. Was Ramsey’s book, perhaps, an anonymous work advertised in Pa. Gaz., May 11, 1749, as “just published, and to be sold at the Post-Office,” entitled The Impenetrable Secret (Evans, 6334; Hildeburn, 1131; Campbell, 418)? If so, the author’s secret remains impenetrable, for no surviving copy of this publication has been found.

2Entries 29–43 in this section were covered by entries in Parker’s first or second report, or both, except that small amounts are here added to entries 34 and 39 to bring them down to Jan. 17, 1766. Entries 44–48 are new. By sheer coincidence Jan. 17, 1766, the terminal date of several of these accounts, was BF’s sixtieth birthday.

3The 12 surviving pages of this account as shown in entries 31, 32, and 45 are among the Franklin Papers, APS, and are briefly described above, III, 270, no. 1.

4The 22 surviving pages of this account as shown in entries 33 and 34 are among the Franklin Papers, APS, and are described above, III, 270, no. 2. The final page shows an additional 10s. paid on Jan. 28, 1766, and examined by Parker on February 1, but not shown in his report.

5The 13 surviving pages of this account as shown in entries 35, 36, and 46 are among the Franklin Papers, APS, and are described above, III, 271, no. 3.

6No detailed account of this entry or the remaining ones in Section B-1 (except entry 46) has been found.

7John Jerman’s almanac; above, XII, 181 n.

8An apparently unique copy of The New-England Primer Enlarged, For the more easy attaining the true Reading of English. To which is added, The Assembly’s Catechism, printed by Franklin and Hall in 1760, is in the Schwenkfelder Lib., Pennsburg, Pa. The editors are indebted to Professor C. William Miller of Temple University for this information. An apparently unique copy of the Franklin and Hall printing of 1764 is in Yale Univ. Lib. It is rather strange that of more than 35,000 copies of the Primer here reported to have been printed by Franklin and Hall, only these two can now be located. But Primers were cheap and received hard usage, and most were probably thrown away when the children in a family had outgrown them.

9Identified by Hall in a later letter as one of the post riders.

1An announcement by Franklin and Hall in Pa. Gaz., June 6, 1765, repeated several times during the following months, directed all persons in Virginia owing money for the Gazette to make payment to “Messieurs Hunter and Glassel, Merchants in Fredericksburgh,” who were furnished with the accounts and would give receipts. In some of the announcements the second name is spelled “Glassell.”

2This entry, which later puzzled BF because it is inadequately explained in the report, is a continuation of the account in entries 35 and 36.

3Most of the standard bibliographies and works on the New England Primer list a 1765 edition by Franklin and Hall, apparently based on this entry in Parker’s report, but without giving the precise title. No copy has been located.

4At the back of the Franklin and Hall 1749 edition of Lord Bolingbroke’s Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism, the printers advertised ten other recent publications, including The Shorter Catechism of the Reverend Assembly of Divines and Isaac Watts’s The Assembly’s Catechism with Notes, each retailing for 6d. Either one of these might be the work referred to here, or the entry might include both. The principal bibliographies list “A Catechism” published by Franklin and Hall in 1765, based on this entry in Parker’s report, but without giving a precise title or locating a copy. The phraseology of this entry, however, suggests a large remainder of some earlier printing, though why so many copies should remain unsold in as large a center of Presbyterianism as Philadelphia cannot now be explained.

5This entry probably refers to Richard Peters, A Sermon on Education (with which were included the Constitutions of the Academy and BF’s “Idea of the English School,” above, III, 421–8; iv, 101–8), published by Franklin and Hall in 1751.

6Thomas Dilworth, A New Guide to the English Tongue; in Five Parts is listed by Evans (10284), Hildeburn (2210), and Campbell (727) as having been published by Hall in 1766, the first two with a notation, apparently taken from this entry in Parker’s report, that 2000 copies were more than half printed at the time of the dissolution of the firm of Franklin and Hall.

7The use of the expression “for 1766” here establishes that the sales in entry 41 were of almanacs for the years noted, not of almanacs sold during those years.

8[Thomas Letchworth], A Morning and Evening’s Meditation, or, A Descant on the Times. A Poem by T. L. London, Printed. Philadelphia, Re-printed and Sold by B. Franklin, and D. Hall. 1766. It was advertised in Pa. Gaz., Jan. 23, 1766, as “Just Published,” and was the last book issued with the Franklin and Hall imprint.

9See above, XII, 181 n.

1This section was not included in Parker’s first and second reports. In his letter of February 3 Parker said it was based on the work books.

2The first four entries in this section appeared in Parker’s first report; entry 72 is new.

3Only the first two pages of the account in this entry survive among the Franklin Papers, APS. They are briefly described above, III, 271, no. 4.

4For Parker’s detailed valuation of the printing materials, see above, pp. 60–3.

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