From James Payne4
ALS: American Philosophical Society
Brackley5 25 June 1767.
Though I conclude from the long Silence of Mrs. Stevenson that she hath wholly Declin’d the Intention of Purchasing the House at Wappenham6 I think it not Improper to enclose Mr. Cockeriles Letter7 that I may have her Instructions what answer to give him. I Continue in the Opinion Imparted in my last That a House of £40 or £50 Purchase would be more Serviceable To Thos. Walker than A House of Six or Seven pounds a Year. The Rent of which I think would be a Difficult Matter for him to pay. My Wife Joyns me in Respect To Mrs. Stevenson, and I am Sir Your most humble Servant
P S I enclose Mrs. Walkers Draught For your Charitable Benefaction which Mrs. Stevenson will pay to my Brother.8
Addressed: For / Benj. Franklin Esqr / at Mrs. Stevensons / in Craven Street / in the Strand / London
4. James Payne is not identified except that, as indicated in this letter and some others among the Franklin Papers, he appears to have been a friendly individual of some education, resident in Brackley, who took a benevolent interest in BF’s cousin, Mrs. Hannah Walker (A.22.214.171.124.1), and her impecunious family.
5. Brackley, Northamptonshire, Payne’s residence; Westbury, Buckinghamshire, where the Walkers lived; and Wappenham, Northamptonshire, to which Payne wanted the Walkers to move, are all within a very few miles of each other.
6. When Mrs. Stevenson visited the Walkers in November 1766 (above, XIII, 508–9), she had observed the wretched conditions in which they lived. Probably acting for BF, she seems to have been interested recently in getting them a better house to live in, and Payne appears to have been trying to help by recommending one in the nearby village of Wappenham. No previous letter from him has been found.
7. This person has not been identified and his letter has not been found.
8. The editors find themselves unable to explain this postscript.