From William Trent,5 with List of Traders’ Losses and Benjamin Franklin’s Certificate
ALS (Trent) and ADS (Franklin): Yale University Library
Philadelphia October 1st. 1767
Benjamin Franklin Esqr.
In March 1766, Colonel Croghan took the liberty of inclosing you a Letter from himself to Messrs. Mildred & Roberts of London And therein desired, That they would deliver to you, All the Accounts belonging to the Indian Traders who had lost by the Depredations of the French and Indians and also the Vouchers attending them.6
Colonel Croghan has not had the pleasure of hearing whether Messrs. Mildred & Roberts have delivered these Accounts to you and therefore he requests I would inclose you the within duplicate of his Letter to those Gentlemen, for that purpose.
I am duly constituted by Letter of substitution, the Attorney in fact, for those Indian Traders mentioned at the foot of this Letter, As Messrs. Baynton, Wharton & Morgan will inform you, Wherefore I must request, as a particular favor, That you will be pleased on Receipt hereof, to transmit to me by the first Packet, all those several Indian Traders Accounts and Vouchers, (mentioned below) or for fear of loss by Sea, That you will be so good as to hire a Clerk (The Expence whereof I will immediately pay Mrs. Franklin or to your Order) And have all those Traders Accounts and their Vouchers properly Copied, and then certified by you, to be true Copys, Which pray send to me in the Stead of the Originals.
It is indispensably necessary for me to have those Accounts here with all possible expedition. Wherefore I hope Sir you will be so obliging to gratify me in this my earnest Solicitation. I am very respectfully Sir Your most obedient and very humble Servant
Doctor Franklin is earnestly requested to send by the first Packet, The following Indian Traders Accounts of Losses with the Vouchers attending them to Wm. Trent their Attorney in fact. Vidzt,7
[In Franklin’s hand:8]
London, Dec. 26. 1767
Agreable to the Request contained in the within Letter, I have caused to be transcribed all the Accounts therein mentioned, and the Depositions thereunto relating;9 and having carefully examined the Copies made thereof, and compared the same with the Originals remaining in my Hands, I do hereby certify that the said Copies are correct and true; and as such I have connected them with this Letter and Certificate by a blue Ribband sealed with my Seal.1 Witness my Hand
Endorsed: Mr Trent Oct. 1. 1767 Indian Accts. w[ere] sent certify’d by me
5. For William Trent, leading Indian trader, see above, V, 65–6 n. During 1765–66 he was actively engaged in collecting affidavits of traders’ losses and powers of attorneys. Albert T. Volweiler, George Croghan and the Western Movement 1741–1782 (Cleveland, 1926), p. 267.
6. No letter from Croghan such as Trent describes here has been found, either in the original or in the duplicate mentioned in the next paragraph. Mildred & Roberts was a merchant firm with offices at 59 Fenchurch Street, London. [Henry Kent], Kent’s Directory for the Year 1770 (London, 1770), p. 122. The traders’ losses were primarily those suffered in the early period of hostilities associated with the Seven Years’ War.
7. Not counting the shillings and pence missing in one line because of a tear in the paper, the claimed losses in the 23 accounts listed here total £30,209 1s. 8½d.
8. This certificate is written on the third page of the folio sheet directly below the last names in the list.
9. Although BF had followed Trent’s suggestion of engaging someone to make copies of the accounts and papers, his own records do not show his payment for this clerical service. On May 10, 1768, however, WF wrote that he expected to receive the four guineas the transcriptions had cost BF and that his father would be compensated by a payment due to WF from a man in Edinburgh, APS. This complicated transaction was completed on Aug. 29, 1768; Journal, 1764–1776, p. 16; Ledger, 1764–1776, pp. 9, 28.
1. This ribbon, a little over an inch wide, now survives in two pieces, each about 6½ inches long. About an inch of each was inserted from the back through a slit cut in the second leaf of the document and these short ends were fastened on the third page, at the beginning of this certificate, by the application of BF’s wax seal. The longer free ends hang from the fourth page providing means by which the certified papers could be secured. One of these ribbons is stuck to the paper just enough to obscure one word of the endorsement on the fourth page.